AAAID highlight its experience in localizing climate-smart agricultural technologies within small-scale farmers sector during the Arab Food Security and Sustainability Workshop

Date: 11 Dec, 2023

Location: Dubai - UAE

AAAID is committed to constructing advanced investment and technological models and implement them in the regions where it operates to enhance agricultural production. The advanced and environmentally-friendly technologies it has introduced, such as no-till farming techniques in rainfed areas and precision agriculture, have seen considerable success. Currently, AAAID is dedicated to embracing and disseminating smart agricultural technologies, aiming to secure agricultural sustainability across its member nations.

During the Arab Food Security and Sustainability Workshop, H.E. Mr. Mohammed bin Obaid Al Mazrooei, President of AAAID, delivered an insightful presentation titled “AAAID’s experience in localizing climate-smart agricultural technologies within the small-scale farmers sector”, which took place at the Arab League’s pavilion within activities of COP 28, on 10 December, 2023 at Expo Dubai – UAE. In his overview, H.E. Al Mazrooei highlighted AAAID’s involvement with 54 companies by the end of 2023, with a total investment of around USD 673 million, in which they play a crucial role in producing essential commodities and crops to bridge the Arab food gap and collectively offer over 127,000 job opportunities.

Moreover, AAAID adopted a comprehensive set of initiatives aimed at implementing purposeful projects and solutions-focused activities that focused on disseminating and localizing these solutions among small-scale farmers. These initiatives included harnessing and utilizing climate, environmental, and social data, developing systems aligned with this data, and targeting farmers as the execution agents through preparation, training, monitoring, and evaluation. In addition to providing financial and technical support, engaging in planning, supervising implementation, monitoring progress, and conducting evaluations, while also ensuring the availability of qualified technical personnel for supervision and training.

H.E. Al Mazrooei emphasized that AAAID had adopted a distinctive approach in transferring and localizing sustainable agricultural technologies and systems to produce food security crops, as it has introduced advanced agricultural systems and techniques to the Arab region, including adopting and localizing no-till farming systems and related technologies. Additionally, AAAID adopted a program to enhance rainfed agriculture in Arab countries and integrated precision agriculture with no-till farming as a comprehensive technological package, including modern irrigation systems such as drip irrigation, pivot irrigation, hydroponics, and siphon irrigation.

Furthermore, AAAID also worked on localizing enhanced crops and varieties to increase productivity and agricultural mechanization, in which it expanded the use of agricultural machinery for cultivating, producing, and harvesting crops like cotton, sorghum, maize, and sesame, employing complete agricultural mechanization for the first time in the Arab region, besides utilizing solar energy in agriculture within remote areas.

H.E. Al Mazrooei pointed out various challenges encountered by small and medium-scale farmers and producers, which encompass decreased productivity stemming from reliance on traditional farming methods, insufficient financial support for these farmers, limited market access, reduced competitiveness due to small land sizes and lower yields, as well as irregular participation of farmers in cooperatives or organizational structures.

AAAID’s President also emphasized that AAAID’s model has effectively addressed these issues by establishing an integrated financial, technical, organizational, and supervisory package. This model stands out from other institutions supporting small-scale farmers due to several distinctive features, including enhancing financial inclusion in rural areas by providing timely and acceptable financing to farmers, besides providing all production inputs like seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides, and overseeing the execution of all production processes, from land preparation to harvest, collaborating with agricultural research centers to establish advisory platforms aimed at enhancing the capabilities of small-scale farmers and integrating modern technologies into agricultural operations. AAAID also provides technical support and agricultural guidance to farmers, making agricultural insurance a requirement for financing, as it facilitates farmers’ access to markets and participates in organizing field days, distributing incentive prizes to the most productive farmers. The total funding allocated from 2015 to 2022 reached about USD 41 million.

Among the achieved outcomes was the increase in peanut productivity for small-scale farmers in the Republic of Sudan between 2015 and 2021, measured in tons per hectare, in which it ranged between 66% to 199%, while wheat yields ranged between 50% to 163%. Also, the number of beneficiaries from development and financing programs for small-scale farmers and producers in Arab countries between 2013 and 2022 reached around 498,000 individuals. Over the same period, 184 development programs were implemented, encompassing activities related to plant and animal production development, water harvesting programs, and well drilling for drinking water.

It is notable that the program for financing small-scale farmers and producers allocated estimated proportions of funding specifically for rural women in the Republic of Sudan, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. This initiative significantly contributed to enhancing their living standards, in which the number of beneficiaries of agricultural activity funding reached 4,280 women during 2013 – 2022.