The Ministry of Climate Change and Environments (MOCCAE) has banned the import of certain fruits and vegetables from five Middle East Countries over concerns about high levels of pesticides.
Imports from Egypt, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon and Yemen will be stopped as of May 15th 2017, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment said. The list includes all varieties of pepper from Egypt; peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, squash, beans and Aubergine from Jordan; apples from Lebanon; melons, carrots and watercress from Oman; and all types of fruit from Yemen.
With a huge amount of produce coming from these neighboring countries alone, local vendors are already feeling the downside of the ban. This can indicate that food prices are set to surge where extra costs borne by vendors and sellers to import fruits and vegetables from other continents like Europe will have to be borne by the consumer.
Shokrollah Ali, Managing Director of Shokri Hassan Trading at Dubai’s Fruit and Vegetable market said “We usually get carrots from Oman for Dh1.50 a kilogram, but now we will have to get them from China or even Australia where it is Dh3.50 a kilo,”
“Lebanon and Jordan are important countries for us because they bring a lot of vegetables, such as lettuce and marrow.”
We usually get it by land from Jordan and it takes five days,” he said. “But now it will not be possible to get it by sea or land.
“We will have to fly it in from Holland, Australia, Tunisia or Morocco and air freight can add more than €1 [Dh4] a kilo from Europe or US$1 from Morocco.”
Adding further, he said “that this problem has to be sorted out quickly as Ramadan is around the corner. This means there is a higher request for produce around this time and customers will end up paying 50 to 70 per cent more”
Experts said there was a good reason for the ban, imposed by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment.
“It’s a big risk to consume vegetables, especially leafy greens, with a high dose of pesticides because we are consuming chemicals,” said Basem Azzam, quality director at Taylor Shannon International, a food safety consultancy.
Pesticides, particularly derivatives of chlorinated pesticides, are harmful because they can bio-accumulate and build up to dangerous levels in the body and environment.
Persistent chemicals get magnified throughout the food chain and have been detected in products ranging from meat, poultry and fish, to vegetable oils, nuts and various fruits and vegetables.
As a healthy and self-sustaining alternative to importing food from neighboring countries that utilize high levels of pesticides, Hydroponic Farming is rapidly becoming the region’s most sustainable option for food security in the UAE.
Hydroponic Farming uses up to 90% less water and is pesticide free. Crops require relatively less landmass to grow and can receive water and nutrients directly through the roots. This ensures that every single plant is healthy and grows quickly, resulting in higher yields and more frequent harvests.
Pegasus Agriculture, a leader in hydroponic farming in the region has said; “we not only reduce the reliance of food imports within the UAE by providing local and healthy hydroponic food supply from our local farms, but also ensure we abide by the highest standards to ensure pesticide free produce that is available year round.
Pegasus Agriculture is one of the leading owners and operators of hydroponic farming facilities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). With their head office strategically located in Dubai, UAE that serves as the headquarters for its growing global distribution network.
Pegasus Agriculture continue to lead the counties of the MENA region in technologically advanced farming practices, helping countries to attain food security.
Article Source: Press Release Place
International hydroponic experts Pegasus Agriculture have announced plans to construct a large hydroponic facility in Florida, USA. The company has purchased a 15 year lease on 77 acres of land, with an option to extend the lease by an additional 15. The move will give the company access to North American markets, which have exploded in recent years as local populations are shifting demand to more sustainable, locally produced goods.
The local effects of climate change, of which rising sea levels is a major issue for the state, are being felt by residents, and recent polls indicate that roughly 80% of Florida’s population now believes in its existence.
Additionally, Florida’s agriculture sector has been showing significant signs of growth over the last few years, with some 1.56 million people being employed in the state’s agriculture and natural resources sectors in 2014, which is the latest year for which there is data.
Ultimately, this makes Florida an extremely attractive location for international hydroponics companies like Pegasus Agriculture. In fact, Mahmood Almas, the company’s Group Chairman is quoted as having said that “it is one of the most ideal locations to press the advantages of hydroponics available worldwide, at the moment.”
Hydroponics is radically changing agriculture around the world, and one company has received a seal of approval from the Shariah Supervisory Board (SBB), making its investment product an example of Shariah-compliant agriculture.
Pegasus Agriculture is based out of Dubai and promotes the use of hydroponic farming operations across the Middle East and North Africa. The company was sanctioned by Islamic law under the leadership of BB, a renowned international Shariah scholar.
The SSB made its decision on June 3 after looking at not only the operational details of the company, but also its finances.
“We’re proud to be able to say that we adhere to these important Islamic principles.” Pegasus Agriculture Chairman Mahmood Almas said in a press statement. In the same report, Ebrahim Desai called Pegasus “a unique investment which allows investors the opportunity to earn solid sustainable returns while adhering to the ethical principles of Shariah Law.”
One principle of Shariah-complaint business practices is a prohibition on interest, which disqualifies many types of investment vehicles around the world. Another is the sharing of profits and losses among various parties. There are also certain standards regarding excess of speculation in markets. International business-services company PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that less than 1 percent of world’s assets are Shariah-compliant.
So what does it take to really make something like agriculture Shariah-compliant?
Federico Gaon is an Argentinian with a degree in international relations from the University of Palermo, specializing in Middle Eastern legal affairs.
“Since Islam has never truly been reformed toward religiously condoned secularization (like Christianity in Western Europe, especially Protestantism), there is ample debate among Islamic scholars and jurists surrounding what is halal, or possible, and what is haram, or forbidden,” Gaon told Gulf News Journal. “Although one could say kindred discussions take place in other religions, this does not happen with the same intensity.”
Discussing the quixotic nature of this kind of religious application to modern-day realities, Gaon said there’s also the question of how liberally or strictly to apply Shariah law, or any other type of religious rule.
“Perhaps a good example is banking.” Gaon said. “There is no such thing as ‘Christian banking or finance,’ yet the concept of Islamic banking is quite popular in the Muslim world. In other words, in Islam, everything modern is under scrutiny. Of course, from an economic standpoint, you could find ‘progressive’ scholars, and more conservative ones, prone to blocking productivity for the sake of purity, or tradition.”
Although Shariah might be a concept that’s generally hard to apply to the modern world with all of its unforeseen complexity, scholars are evidently able to accommodate the idea of hydroponic gardening, an idea that could help feed the world and give millions of people in different areas of the globe access to fresher, healthier produce. The recent ruling on one hydroponic company is a reassuring sign.
Pegasus Agriculture Group announced support a major public-private initiative to develop a global indoor agriculture production, research, training, and service hub in the Kennett Square area.
The indoor agriculture company is based in Dubai.
Plans for the hub initiative are were publicly announced for the first time this week at Indoor Ag Con Asia in Singapore, by Kennett Township, the historic center of the indoor mushroom industry in the U.S.
.The initiative was developed by Kennett’s Sustainable Development Office (SDO) with support from Kennett area growers and packers, regional economic development agencies, and regional agriculture, engineering, and business schools, a release stated.
According to Mahmood Almas, Pegasus’ founder and chairman, “Kennett’s initiative to develop a world-class indoor agriculture hub is not only visionary but eminently practical. That’s because Kennett, unlike most other areas, can leverage the extensive infrastructure of its historic indoor agriculture industry. That makes all the difference to Pegasus.”
Michael Guttman, who directs the initiative for Kennett, stated that “Kennett currently produces 50 percent of the annual US mushroom crop – some 500 million pounds of produce – all grown indoors year-round and delivered fresh every day with 48 hours of picking all across North America. We’ve already developed an extensive infrastructure to accomplish this that includes engineering, construction, maintenance, public utilities, cold storage, logistics, transportation, and of course a very experienced workforce. That infrastructure is largely crop-agnostic, so it can just as readily serve the needs of a ‘green’ indoor agricultural firm such as Pegasus, giving them a fast and easy way to enter the vast US marketplace we already serve at the lowest possible cost and risk.”
“Kennett’s extensive infrastructure alone makes it an extremely attractive location for us,” Almas said. “But that’s only one facet of this initiative. Kennett is also working with some its world-class regional agriculture, engineering and business schools to develop a joint indoor agriculture research, training, and innovation incubator center in Kennett, designed to work closely with private production firms located in the area. This center, the first of its kind in a major production area, will be a major asset to the rapidly evolving indoor agriculture industry.”
“We very much appreciate the active and public support of Kennett’s initiative by Pegasus, a highly respected global leader in indoor agriculture,” said Guttman. “In particular, we appreciate how our initiative ties in with Pegasus’s global vision of creating a worldwide network of environmentally and economically sustainable indoor agriculture communities to ensure food security. Working with Pegasus and our other partners, our initiative can hopefully serve as a blueprint for developing a network of similar indoor agriculture hubs all around the world.”