In pictures: Farmers' drive for public to buy UAE-grown potatoes
April 22, 2013
Potato farmers face a major challenge in marketing their products as supermarkets generally rely on cheaper and, at times, substandard potatoes imported from abroad, a senior official at Elite Argo Company, a large commercial vegetable grower farm in Al A???
Local potatoes are sold in the UAE at Dh2.5 to Dh3 per kg and are generally found at Spinneys, Abela, Choitrams, Geant, Aswaaq and Souq. Potatoes imported from around the region retail for about Dh1.7 or Dh1.8 per kg, depending on the quality.
“We harvested 1,200 tonnes of potatoes so far this year and, for next year, we plan to increase it to 3,500 tonnes a year,” said Martin Aguirre, commercial and operations director of the FSC.
“The FSC imparts all logistical supports as well as promotes the marketing but there is not enough support for the local retailers, even though it’s a superior quality. I want the consumer to be aware of the local produce and its quality versus the im???
The tour was organised by Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre (FSC), an independent body with links to the Food Control Authority (FCA), to highlight the challenges farmers face in growing vegetables in this climate and how they plan to grow their harves???
The farmers’ centre this year aims to triple the amount of local potatoes produced to nearly 2,500 tonnes, from a figure below 900 tonnes last year.
The official, who was on a tour of a vegetable farm in Al Ain yesterday and wished to remain anonymous, said: “For healthy food and hygiene, 30 to 50 fils more on a kilogramme does not affect the pockets.
In the past, the UAE imported a large percentage of its potatoes from Saudi Arabia but after the Saudis banned potato exports in 2011, the UAE has imported a majority of potatoes from Egypt and Pakistan.
The Elite Argo official argued that consumers need to be made aware of locally produced quality products that are produced in accordance with FCA rules and international standards.
“The quality we’re seeing from local farmers is easily as good as but usually better than these imports,” said Chris Hirst, the chief executive of the FSC.