(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The Municipality of Abu Dhabi City has allocated free platforms in the Fruits and Vegetables Market in Al Mina for selling locally-produced vegetables and fruits and allowed Emirati farmers to store their products in cold storages against nominal fees in a bid to support them and protect the home-grown produce.
The municipality also called on traders to show commitment towards buying local produce when available. It provided a special hangar for retail sales encompassing 68 shaded outlets to protect the products from the sun and other elements.
In cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, Ministry of Economy, and ADFSC, the municipality started developing new guidelines for importers in order to fix the imported quantities and accordingly offer protection to the local produce.
The municipality started a process to streamline the entry of farmers' vehicles laden with local produce round-the-clock, and crackdown on illegal workers whose practices result in selling local produce at cheap prices.
It also designated an area for assembling the waste of vegetables, fruits, defective products and packaging cartons and boxes.
The market also has special parking space capable of housing 63 refrigerated vehicles enabling importers and retailers to complete wholesale transactions.
It also has several other facilities associated with the nature of such activity which include 12 vegetables and fruits washing platforms and a parking lot for un-refrigerated trucks.
In other facilities, it includes a large mosque, drivers' rest house fitted with all means of convenience and hygiene, a restaurant and more than 12 public toilets to serve the workers and visitors of the market.
According to the Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre (ADFSC), it targets to increase the local vegetables and fruits production by 40 per cent in the coming five years.
There are over 23,000 farms in the emirate with the same number of farmers, of which some 8,000 are in Western Region, 12,000 in Al Ain and 3,000 are in Abu Dhabi. As per the earlier figures of the ADFSC, the total quantity of sales of locally-produced vegetables and fruits for June 2010"June 2011 cropping season was 16,790,829 kilos whereas the total value of sales was Dh12,402,658.
The municipality also called on the ADFSC to provide timetables showing the seasons and quantities of local products locally available in order to find a common mechanism for price control and monitoring the market to educate farmers on the availability of local products, in a bid to minimise the imports.