Thu 04-02-2021 17:50 PM
DUBAI, 4th February, 2021 (WAM) -- The Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Rural Development Administration (RDA) of the Republic of Korea to enhance joint efforts in smart farming research.
The event coincided with the 24th National Environment Day, held under the theme 'Green Recovery' this year.
Sultan Alwan, Acting Undersecretary of MoCCAE, and Lee Yong-Beom, Vice Administrator of RDA, signed the agreement on the heels of a meeting between Dr. Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and Kwon Yongwoo, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the UAE, at the Ministry’s headquarters in Dubai.
The MoU mandates the two parties to exchange experience, information, and modern technologies to find innovative solutions to challenges related to smart farming in arid environments.
Based on the outcomes of the UAE-Korea Summit as well as of the second meeting of the Korea-UAE Agricultural Cooperation Committee that took place in the South Korean capital Seoul in 2019, the agreement covers joint research of rice cultivation in the desert and smart greenhouse cooling systems.
RDA’s role in the rice cultivation project includes devising the project plan, providing the budget, managing the project, sharing information on the preliminary research done in Korea, conducting research onsite in the UAE, and building the capacities of MoCCAE researchers throughout the experiment.
On the other hand, the Ministry is responsible for allocating a research site, providing facilities and infrastructure, including electricity, water, and telecommunications, designating personnel to perform the research as well as field cultivation and maintenance, and sharing data on the environment, crop growth, and yields.
As per the agreement, RDA will develop the project plan, commission and provide the budget for the design, manufacturing, and installation of a greenhouse equipped with a smart cooling system, manage the project, offer technical support, and build the capacities of MoCCAE researchers.
Meanwhile, the Ministry will allocate an area for the installation of the smart greenhouse, provide facilities and infrastructure, and designate personnel to perform greenhouse maintenance.
Both parties will participate in experimental crop cultivation.
The MoU is a continuation of the cooperation agreements signed in 2018 during the visit of Moon Jae-in, President of the Republic of Korea, to the UAE. It builds on the success of the pilot phase of the rice cultivation in the desert project that was the outcome of the MoU between MoCCAE and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs of the Republic of Korea in 2019.
Commenced in November 2019, the pilot phase was carried out at the Ministry’s research centre in Al Dhaid in the Emirate of Sharjah, where seeds were sowed in November 2019 and harvested in three stages in May 2020. To reduce costs and the amount of water used, the project team installed an underground drip irrigation system.
After extensive testing, the experts selected Asemi (Japonica) and FL478 (Indica) rice varieties to grow because of their ability to tolerate heat, salinity, and poor soil conditions.