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Strict monitoring of pesticide and chemical imports sought

posted on 11/05/2004: 3002 views

The National Consultative Council (NCC) has urged the government to monitor import of pesticides and chemicals used in agriculture. The council yesterday called for stringent measures to prevent hazardous chemicals and pesticides reaching the local markets. This, they said was essential to protect humans and animal wealth.

The demand was made while approving a council committee report on the development of agriculture and animal wealth in Abu Dhabi's Eastern Region. The council also asked the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to devise a plan to reduce dependence on the use of chemicals and pesticides in farming. "The authorities should carry out a scientific study on how to produce chemical-free pesticides," the report said.

The council asked the government to set up monitoring units at all the entry points. Ahmed Sultan Al Hallami, undersecretary in the Al Ain Department of Agriculture and Animal Wealth, who is also a member of the council, said: "The department stopped the use of chemicals and pesticides in all its farms a long time ago as per the directives of President His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan." Al Hallami said the income of local farmers has risen considerably, reflecting total government support for them.

He said farmers are being offered support by constructing more water reservoirs and digging of wells. "Farmers are being provided with 40 million gallons of water daily from Fujairah water stations."

Also 41 nationals from different tribes have been officially registered to receive financial support. "They are being provided with all forms of support they need," he said. He said each farmer is being provided with monthly support of Dh12,500 to help him develop farms and animal wealth. The council meeting was chaired by Speaker Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Masood. Members asked for more efforts to increase production from local industrial units in order to help boost industrialisation, thus reducing dependence on oil income.

"We need to develop a strategy to help these local industries to compete with the imported products. We need to discuss this issue with the industry management and government officials to find a way to help local products compete with foreign products," members suggested in a motion tabled during an earlier session.

Member Ghaith bin Hammel Al Ghaith, elaborating on marketing strategies, suggested the establishment of a subsidiary unit in Abu Dhabi's Economic Department to act as an information centre for economic data and studies. This unit can be set up with the primary aim of providing accurate and timely economic data to local investors and decision-makers, Al Ghaith said. Regulations governing bids and tender procedures for establishing new industrial units were also debated.

Members were of the opinion that complicated procedures are involved in issuing tenders and inviting bids, which, they added, were discouraging local investors to put money into new factories. The council also regretted the fact some categories of industrial units are suffering because permits are not being issued to businessmen. Whereas some categories of industrial units are seeing a lot of investment.

Member Jabara bin Ahmed Al Marar asked the authorities to develop new procedures for issuing tenders and inviting bids for industrial units. Another member, Mohammed Rashid Al Nassiri, called for a new investment law to help local businessmen open new factories. He also asked for concessions on fees for setting up new industrial units. He sought the council's attention towards a lack of government support for local investors.

He lamented the fact that Abu Dhabi government provides a lower percentage of financing for locals than other emirates. "It is pity that Abu Dhabi's financing is only 61 per cent of the project cost. It needs to be increased." He also suggested the establishment of a federation for the protection and development of the country's industrial units to help them enhance their production, particularly to support small-to-medium industrial units. (The Gulf News)


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