The agriculture in the UAE wasn’t always at the level it is today. The reasons behind the low penetration were scarcity of water resources and arable land, soil salinity, difficult environmental conditions, high production costs, agricultural pests and post-harvest losses. To overcome these issues that the agricultural economy was facing, people had to implement the newest and the latest technologies. Consequently, most of their investments were towards retaining water resources, with emphasis on promoting the adoption and installation of modern irrigation systems to replace flood irrigation method, which wastes large amounts of water.
From 1971, when the first efforts were made towards the development and upgrade of the agricultural economy until 2011, the number of farms grew from 4,000 to 35,704, occupying an area over 100,000 hectares. Thanks to the government’s marked efforts, there are now 54 organic vegetation farms, 3 animal production farms and 1 manufacturing facility. The organic production area in the UAE increased to about 4,000 hectares by the end of 2013.
Because of the technology uprising in the UAE, the country has become one of the most modern countries in the world. And when it comes specifically to agriculture and agrotechnology, many companies started to invest in the UAE’s agriculture by coming up with new and more advanced machines to help harvesting. Companies have found ways to create the perfect plant growth environment, detect specific bacteria that are harmful for plants, increase the harvest process, etc.
In order for the public to see products before they are grown on a large scale, companies had to find a way to approach a big audience all at once. They did that by showcasing their inventions on various expos around the world. For example, one of the biggest agrotechnology expos this year is Agri-Tech, an event happening in Taiwan, where the latest and most advanced technologies in agriculture will be presented, with the biggest of the agricultural companies and inventors in the UAE attending and presenting their ideas to the world.
Because the agricultural market isn’t as prevalent in the UAE as it is in other countries, the competition isn’t as high here. Meaning, there is a lot of room for agricultural penetration and a practically untouched market.
Because of the Emirate’s arid climate and its scarcity of available resources, the national government plans to find ways to invest even more in the agricultural production by adopting sustainable farming and water-conservation techniques. That is why it encourages private, local and foreign companies to come to the UAE and invest in the agricultural economy. For instance, last November, agri-business start-up Pure Harvest Smart Farms secured a historic $4.5bn seed investment to help fund the construction of a 3.3-ha farm with a fully climate-controlled greenhouse facility in Nahel, Abu Dhabi.
The UAE market is so versatile and open to investors. In fact, Abu Dhabi’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry forecasts that the growth rate of the UAE economy over the coming years is 13%. The Emirates have been liberalizing their policies, encouraging foreign individuals and companies to invest and take part in this exciting growth process. Tax exemption is a clear incentive for investors, and draws many foreign companies to establish activities in the Emirates’ free zones.
Benefits of Investing in the UAE
Why would you benefit from investing in the UAE market? Because it has certain advantages that make it more favourable than other countries when it comes to business setup, such as:
- Strategic location
- State-of-the-art infrastructure
- Ease of doing business
- Political stability
- Social stability
- A variety of business premises
- Acute protection of intellectual property rights
- Simplified business regulations
- Open economy
- Economic stability
- No corporate tax
Regarding the UAE’s agricultural market, it is virtually untapped, and its door is always open to companies that plan to invest in the country and make the lives of the people living in it better and easier, and to upgrade the country as a whole.