x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Abu Dhabi rolls out local tomatoes

A new local brand launched by the Farmers' Services Centre aims to convince consumers that locally grown food is healthier than imports.

Tomatoes with the Local Harvest brand for sale at Abu Dhabi's Mina market yesterday.
Tomatoes with the Local Harvest brand for sale at Abu Dhabi's Mina market yesterday.

ABU DHABI // A new line of local produce should be available in supermarkets across Abu Dhabi in the next couple of months.

The Farmers' Services Centre, the government body that aims to modernise the emirate's farms, is launching the Local Harvest brand to persuade consumers that local produce can be of top quality.

"Buying local is something that is just catching on in the UAE," said Chris Hirst, the centre's chief executive. "And here in Abu Dhabi, local products haven't always been marketed as such."

The centre has been planning the launch for two years, and has promised shoppers would be able to trace every bean and tomato back to the farm where it was grown. That traceability, though, is still being developed.

The branded products are brought in from 590 of the centre's 7,500 farms across the emirate.

All the food will have to be "A Class" - the best taste, size and colour. Products are tested and sorted into classes in the centre's pack houses in Madinat Zayed and Al Ain.

"The brand is an attempt to highlight the quality of products from Abu Dhabi's farms and we hope it will reassure the consumer about the freshness, safety, quality and consistency of what they are buying," Mr Hirst said.

So far the range includes honey, cucumbers, tomatoes, mushrooms, courgettes, potatoes and cabbage. They can be found at the centre's 23 Souq stores across Abu Dhabi, as well as some larger stores such as LuLu, Carrefour and Spinneys in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Local meat and dairy products are to be available under the same umbrella from next month.

The launch accompanies the centre's Buy Local campaign, which began last month with brochures and leaflets handed out at supermarkets.

The centre hopes the Local Harvest brand will eventually be available across the country.

cmalek@thenational.ae