Green, but still a desert (part 2/2)


In 1962, during the times when Abu Dhabi was in process of discovering and developing its oil wells. A man from Pakistan, Abdul Hafiz Khan, arrived in Al Ain, the capital of trucial state of Abu Dhabi, on special invitation by H.E. Shaikh Zayed Al Nahyan (Late).

Mr. Khan is a qualified agriculturist and was holding a masters degree with vast experience in agriculture, horticulture and salt plantation in Indian sub continent. With directives from H.E. Shaikh Zayed, Mr. Khan stared leading the Green Drive, he chalked out plan to make Al Ain city more green and advised to grow plants along road sides and helped in developing modern irrigation system. The very first neem tree planted can still be seen behind the Old Palace in Al Ain (which is turned into a museum these days). After sometime, H.E. Shaikh Zayed decided to make a fishermen island into a city and then the modern city of Abu Dhabi got born. That’s how agricultural revolution started in Abu Dhabi.

In 1971, after deceleration of union of 7 emirates, In patronage of H.E. Shaikh Rashid Al Maktom, Dubai also started taking bold actions in green revolution. Though, it was not an easy task due to scarcity of water and high level of salination in soil.

But after 34 years from the day, UAE came into being, you will find flower beds, green belts and date palms almost alongside every major road in Dubai and UAE. I was stunned to find out that in UAE there are 40 small dams, 6,313 green houses and 22,797 farms. Further, there is 40,500 ha of cultivated land around Liwa Oasis.

You can witness this greenery and farms, if you take road to Manamah from Al Dahid. On the way you may find many vendors selling farm produced fruits & vegitables on road side. The good things about these fruitsis that they are fresh not refrigerated. If you are interested in reading further about the green revolution in UAE, you may find the following links quite helpful.


3 Comments so far

  1. kk (unregistered) on January 25th, 2006 @ 11:05 pm

    This was a nice surprise. I’ve grown up in Al Ain and have been witness to the spectacular arborization of the country. My grandfather was Chief Engineer in the Department of Irrigation and responsible for a lot of the agricultural projects in the Al Ain region. Did you know they used to grow strawberries there?

  2. Dubai Crawler (unregistered) on January 26th, 2006 @ 12:47 am

    Well KK, you believe it or not last summer I ate Mangoes produced in RAK.

    Its good to know that you grew in Al Ain. Mr. Abdul Hafiz Khan is very popular figure in Al Ain’s old timers, your grand father must be familiar with him. He is now residing in Old Surooj Area behind the old Palace.

    I met him couple of years ago and learned alot about UAe and the way it was developed. For your information, Shaikh Zayed awarded Mr. Khan with the title of “Son of Soil”.

    Next time you get your hands on those strawberries, dont forget to inform me on this blog ;)

  3. Saadie (unregistered) on January 31st, 2006 @ 10:35 am

    strawberries in Al-Ain woah :D, I guess I will try to meet him too if I can.

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