Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 May 2019

UAE wows visitors with oasis at Expo Beijing

Thousands of plants, vegetables and trees make up the stunning recreation

Expo Beijing. Courtesy NMC
Expo Beijing. Courtesy NMC

The UAE has unveiled its pavilion at the global Horticulture Expo 2019 in Beijing, revealing a stunning recreation of a desert oasis.

More than 36 palm trees, 2,500 species of plant and around 5,900 varieties of vegetable and herbs were used to capture the rich tapestry of life they so often boast.

Held in China’s capital, this year’s event aims to promote the theme "live green, live better".

Exhibitors from around the world were invited to share their high-tech, often ground-breaking innovations to the agricultural sector.

August Keller, CEO of kpm3, the company that built the UAE oasis, said the Emiratis who designed it had been inspired by a quote from Sheikh Zayed, the nation’s Founding Father.

The former ruler, credited with laying the foundations of the modern-day Emirates, once said “Give me agriculture, I will give you a civilisation”.

“To bring the UAE to China’s soil is very interesting for them,” said Mr Keller. “They can experience how an oasis looks and it’s a great way to showcase the country.”

The UAE was one of 110 countries who chose to exhibit at one of the largest agricultural shows in the world.

The event takes place every three years, with thousands of visitors expected to view the displays over the course of the next six months.

The UAE’s pavilion aims to showcase Sheikh Zayed’s vision of turning the nation’s desert green, allowing farmers to grow a wealth of new crops.

The oasis is split into three vertical layers, a practice common to the UAE. Taller trees are sited to protect smaller plants from the sun’s intense heat.

“You have the long palm trees to protect the other shorter trees, which in turn protect the vegetables underneath,” said Mr Keller.

Organisers of the UAE’s exhibit also hope to come away from Beijing with new business opportunities in the agricultural sector.

Trade between the two countries currently stands at around Dh53 billion and could potentially double over the next three years.

Fifty per cent of China's exports travel through UAE ports and experts predict significant collaboration in renewable energy, artificial intelligence and food security.

Expo Beijing. Courtesy NMC
Expo Beijing. Courtesy NMC

"We participated [in Expo] to demonstrate the UAE's accomplishments in agriculture, starting with the traditional irrigation system, the falaj, and ending with modern technologies like drones with sensors to detect insects that grow in palm trees," said Mansour Al Mansouri, director general of the country’s National Media Council.

“It's a platform, so when businesses from the field of agriculture see what the UAE is providing it will open opportunities for trade exchange in the field.”

Officials at the event also hope to promote Expo 2020 Dubai, billed as the country’s next mega event.

"You will see many new things in [Expo] Dubai," said Dawood Al Hajri, director general of the municipality.

"The designs are ready and we should be starting soon. Our deadline is September 2020 and there is a lot of work to be done.

"Right now we are in charge of 3,700 hectares, equivalent to 37m sq metres, to be greened in Dubai, ranging between roads, fields and parks.

"So far we have greened 1.7m sq metres out of it. During the first quarter of this year we planted 23,000 new trees.”

Updated: May 4, 2019 08:37 PM

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