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06 December 2023

Sheikh Mansour Agricultural Excellence Award holds two informative workshops


The Higher Committee of the Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Agricultural Excellence Award organised two workshops to introduce farmers and livestock breeders across the country to the requirements and conditions for participating in the main award and associated competitions and festivals.
The committee dedicated one workshop to the plant-related category covering all award segments aimed at farm owners. The second workshop was allocated to acquainting participants with the requirements for the animal-related category, as well as competitions and livestock auctions, targeting livestock breeders at the national level.
The committee affirmed the continuation of organising informative workshops for all award categories until the registration closes on 30th November. Awareness teams will also inform farmers and breeders of the award requirements through participation in neighbourhood councils in various emirates, interactive sessions, and lectures.
The main requirements for applying to the categories of the award include limiting participation to farmers and livestock breeders in the United Arab Emirates, and that the participant in the (commercial farms category) has a valid trade licence to practice the activity, and that the possession should not be in violation of the laws and regulations applicable in the country. For the category of open farms (vegetables and fruits), it requires that the area planted with vegetable crops should not be less than 5 dunums, while participation in the protected agriculture category (greenhouses or net houses) requires that the area planted with crops should not be less than (2) five dunums.
As for the animal part of the Farmer and Breeder Excellence Award, it contains the categories of productive livestock farms, small-holder producers, beekeepers, and aquaculture. In addition, participation in it is subject to controls and requirements, including that the contestant has the right to participate in only one category of the Award during the same edition, while the winner has the right to run for the same category he/she has won after the lapse of two editions from the date of receiving the Award.
The committee pointed out that the award has created two categories dedicated to women in the current session, which is the Female Farmer / Breeder Excellence Award.
The Organising Committee ensured participants' engagement in discussions during the workshops, encouraging them to provide suggestions to motivate more farmers and breeders to participate in the award. Questions were also addressed. In response to a participant's question during the plant-related workshop regarding field visits to participating farms, the award team confirmed that the evaluation committee would visit the qualified farms for assessment based on the award's specified criteria and requirements. These visits aim to be beneficial for the breeders themselves, involving experts and specialists in modern and sustainable farming systems.
One participant proposed including a category for home agricultural production in the award, and this suggestion has been incorporated into the award's developmental proposals for the upcoming years.
Regarding the evaluation criteria for the plant agricultural innovation category, the award team clarified that the first criterion is overcoming challenges by being able to identify the challenges that require innovative solutions and contribute to achieving the country's goals and directions. The second criterion is authenticity by exploring the best global practices related to innovation and assessing the modernity and authenticity of the innovation. The third criterion includes the application and the ease of implementing the innovation.
The fourth criterion addresses elements of development and improvement, while the fifth criterion focuses on application results by measuring the outcomes achieved through the innovation's implementation and its impact on the agricultural sector.
In response to a question about the possibility for winners from the previous cycle to enter the current cycle, the award team confirmed that the winner of the first cycle of the main award can only nominate themselves in one of the categories they have not already won in the current cycle. The jury's decision is final and cannot be appealed. Given that the aim of the award is to encourage and reward breeders and commercial farms in the livestock sector and to give the greatest number of breeders and farmers the opportunity to participate, the candidates for the award are those who apply measures to protect human, animal and plant health and reduce the spread of diseases and epidemics, in addition to following best practices in nutrition and animal welfare to achieve higher productivity rates.
On the difference between applying for the Productive Livestock Farms Award in the category of small-holder producers and large-scale producers (commercial category), the award team stated that the target category for participation should be identified before applying, ensuring better chances of winning. Therefore, it is not permissible to apply in both the Small and Large Producer categories simultaneously.
Regarding the possibility of participating with a plant farm containing livestock, the award team stated that if the livestock is registered and identified, participation can be in either the livestock or plant category, as desired by the participant. It is advisable for the farmer to familiarize themselves with the requirements of each category and choose the most suitable option from the categories offered by the award that aligns with their farm.