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Country set to celebrate Zayed's Accession Day

posted on 28/07/2003: 1427 views

The UAE will mark the 37th anniversary of the accession of President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, on August 6, and officials are expected to reaffirm developmental plans which have continued under his leadership. The President's Private Department is considered the lynchpin of the UAE Government and it has been applauded for making strides towards developing the UAE.

Its key objectives are to "achieve luxury for the benefit of nationals and expatriate residents" and to "further establish the UAE's leading position in regional and international affairs, as well as establishing more progress and prosperity".

Among its projects has been the efforts to combat desertification and increase green areas in the country, motivated by the president's famous doctrine, 'Give me agriculture, and I give you civilisation". Sheikh Zayed has said he believes agriculture is important as it could help the nation achieve self-sufficiency in food. The UAE's achievements in turning the desert green were published in a report coinciding with the President's Accession Day as Ruler of Abu Dhabi. It praised the sustained efforts of the president's department in agricultural development and the expansion of green areas which have transformed the desert into productive land.

The report also highlights the country's unique experiment in combating desertification and its achievements in agriculture despite a hostile climate. "The UAE has become a role model to be emulated by countries with similar climatic conditions, due to the determination of Sheikh Zayed," the report said. The greenery plan adopted by the UAE has resulted in the planting of palm trees and has increased the number of public parks and gardens nationwide. Presidential policies have also led to many of the UAE's roads being shrouded in lush greenery on either side.

Agriculture is considered a vital sector that is helping the country push ahead and has allowed it to become a complex of oases in many areas. Policies have been developed by the President to allow for the development of agriculture and to encourage farmers. The policies have also promoted the development of animal resources and fisheries. Modern technology has also become a hallmark of agriculture throughout the UAE as a result of the agricultural policy, while the industry is also being boosted by impressive research centres to optimise the use of natural resources.

Production by the country's food producers has recorded steady growth, especially with the further development of production methods, an expansion in the use of fertilisers and fortified seeds. Strict measures have also been brought in to protect crops from the threat of agricultural diseases, such as tight controls of imports as borders and airports.

The report into the UAE's success in greenery and agriculture also comments on the state of animal rearing. Despite being considered one of the nation's traditional activities, contribution of this sector to the economy was very limited and had fallen into decline. Yet it has now been revived after the state deployed its financial resources to build a base for the development of animal husbandry.

Traditional animal husbandry system did not employ modern means, but after it became the focus of government attention, the animal population increased by 268 per cent between 1977 and 1995. This is reflected in the increase in fresh milk production which grew by 476 per cent, and fresh meat production which grew by 301 per cent.

Meanwhile, production of eggs increased from 0.064 million in 1977 to a staggering 242.1 millions in 1995. This sector covered nearly one quarter of the country's entire meat demand, 90 per cent of demand for fresh milk, and 37 per cent of the demand for eggs by 1995.

Animal wealth continued to grow between 1997 and 2001, when the animal population, except for cattle kept in modern farms, totalled 2,214,144 head, an increase of 28 per cent. Growth of animal numbers has resulted in an increase in the quantity of fresh milk produced - the amount of milk produced in 2001 was 87,436 tonnes, an increase of 101 per cent in just four years.

The number of cattle farms in 2001 was 28, producing 91,473 tonnes of fresh milk and 26,320 tonnes of meat. On the other hand, 28,142 tonnes of poultry were produced in 2001. In the same period the production of eggs was 309.8 million. According to the report, Sir Bani Yas Island has become one of the largest wildlife sanctuaries on the Arabian Peninsula. Sir Bani Yas reserve, which represents an integral environmental system with a diverse wildlife is another example of what has been achieved under Sheikh Zayed's leadership. The reserve houses various specimens of flora and fauna.

The report paid tribute to President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan for his efforts to conserve the environment and described Sir Bani Yas Island's reserve of 250 square kilometres as "an environmental miracle". The island is one of the largest reserves in the region and was developed under the directives of Sheikh Zayed. It is a habitat for rare species of birds and wild animals including the llama, african ostriches, ducks and giraffes and other endangered animals as well as millions of trees.

The island comprises 250 forests planted with three million trees and another 350 various fruit trees. A total of 60,000 animals and birds are being raised in Sir Bani Yas Island. Twenty three rare species of birds and wild animals are included in the island. A rest house for VIP and senior visitors was allocated under the instructions of the President to receive those visitors willing to see the island. Another rest house, which has a capacity of 80 beds is available there for whoever wants to see the natural reserve and tour in its various landmarks.

The tremendous efforts of President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan in making the UAE a prosperous country against many odds are worthy of high praise, according to the French newspaper La Monde. The paper expressed its admiration for the fast development accomplished in the UAE since 1971 and described Sir Bani Yas as Aden Paradise. The writer, in a feature article on Sir Bani Yas, said Sheikh Zayed had succeeded in providing his country with a concrete and advanced infrastructure despite climatic conditions and natural difficulties.

He had made his dream come true by converting this part of the desert into a lovely oasis and a natural habitat where thousands of birds and about 24 species of animals exist, as well as over 200,000 different fruit trees. Sir Bani Yas is also a recreation haven to over 15,000 foreign tourists who visit the resort annually, the writer said. Sir Bani Yas was also said to be an important area to those interested in archaeology as well.

Other animal farms and forests spanning over large spaces in the emirates add to Sheikh Zayed's increasing number of accomplishments. Sixty-seven dams worth Dh700 million were created in the Northern Emirates at the expense of Sheikh Zayed to supply the population of the UAE nationals and expatriates, fulfilling their need for water and upgrading the water situation in the country. (The Gulf News)


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