ABU DHABI // Date farmers across the emirate will now be able to get a Dh7,500- a-month subsidy to help improve the condition of their palms.
The subsidy is part of a scheme by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority, a government body tasked with modernising Abu Dhabi farms.
It began last year on 50 farms in Al Gharbia, and is now being extended to the rest of the emirate - an extra 175 farms.
To receive the grant, farmers will have to sign up with the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority - at an annual cost of Dh3,000 - and use the latest techniqes for palm tree cleaning and trimming, fertilisation and pest spraying, and have signed up with .
"The programme aims at ensuring a fair income for the farmers in order to encourage them to make farming more competitive and market-oriented, as well as conserving precious natural resources," said Mubarak Ali Al Mansouri, the director of agriculture at the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.
Farmers who sell their dates to Al Foah Company, who farm organically or demonstrate good agricultural practices will get an extra Dh10,000 a year. They will also be required to have stopped growing Rhodes grass, considered one of the thirstiest crops for animal feed. Only livestock owners with large farms will be allowed to grow it.