x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Six 'farmers market souqs' to open in Al Ain

Six more local souqs are planned to open before the end of the year.

ABU DHABI // Six new fruit and vegetable markets will open in Al Ain this year.

The Farmers' Services Centre said yesterday that it would open six more of its local "souqs" before the end of the year in the city.

Fifteen of the souqs are already open around the emirate, but only one in Al Ain. They sell fresh vegetables - mostly cucumbers and tomatoes - herbs and fruits as well as dates, eggs, honey and live birds from 1,000 local farmers.

"I'm excited to hear about these new shops opening in Al Ain because a lot of my friends tell me about it in Abu Dhabi," said Masha Hammoud, a Jordanian resident of Al Ain. "It's about time we started getting more of the local vegetables here because the quality of imported goods isn't always that high."

Branded "Local Harvest", the produce is sold in 15 shops and supermarket chains across the emirate.

"We look at the weekly farmers market as another way to open up marketing channels to local farmers and link our souq outlets to the community it serves," said Chris Hirst, the centre's chief executive.

Each farmer can set up a stall for free, while the centre has a separate stand for its brand.

The centre is aiming to produce 40,000 tonnes of farm products this winter - 24,000 more than last year.

cmalek@thenational.ae