Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed praises leading role of the international center for agriculture ( ICBA)

WAM 29th July, 2013 WAM — H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, has praised the leading role of the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) in the United Arab Emirates in promoting the use of saline water resources to produce fodder crops and fruit trees such as date palm trees.

Sheikh Mansour also received a copy of the book of “Salt Tolerant Plants in the United Arab Emirates” from Dr. Ahmed Abdul Ghaffar Al Sharif, Deputy Director General of ICBA.

This came during the visit of Sheikh Mansour to ICBA’s pavilion at the Liwa Date Festival, which took place from 18th-25th July. Dr. Al Sharif stressed the ICBA’s keenness on participating in Liwa Date Festival, saying that this event is very important in attracting date palm farmers from various countries to a fair competition, which highlights the finest Emirati dates. It is a true regional and international event attracting the various stakeholders in the date industry from all over the region.

Dr. Ahmed Al Sharif added that he was particularly pleased this year with the visit of H.H. Sheikh Mansour to the festival. This visit confirms the keenness of state officials, lead by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan , on maintaining the course set by the founder of the UAE, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, which pays special attention to the date palm. This national direction has made the UAE one of the current world leading date producers.

Dr. Al Sharif added that the book “Salt Tolerant Plants of the United Arab Emirates”, which ICBA published recently in cooperation with Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, is an important scientific reference on plants that will be at the basis of agriculture in the future. This shift to salt tolerant plants will lead to reducing the usage of traditional fresh water consuming plants, especially forage plants. Dr. Al Sharif concluded by saying that it is a great honor for ICBA to share a copy of this book with H.H. Sheikh Mansour.

Dr. Al Sharif expressed his sincere gratitude to the great work accomplished by the organizers and the management of the Liwa Date Festival, which in its 9th edition this year was an even greater success. He wished them lasting prosperity for years to come.

The International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture is an international centre of excellence for research and development in marginal environments. Established in 1999 under the leadership of the Islamic Development Bank and the United Arab Emirates, ICBA was originally a research and development institute focusing on the problems of salinity and using saline water for irrigated agriculture. The centre has evolved over the last 14 years into a modern research facility with a team of international scientists conducting applied research to improve the well-being of poor farmers in marginal environments. Strategically the Centre has broadened its initial focus from applied research and technology development in saline-irrigated agriculture, to a broader mandate for improving agricultural production within an integrated water resource system approach.

WAM/MZ/CM

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