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Organic farming. In the UAE? Put together, these words may seem like a paradox. After all, not everyone expects a flourishing agriculture business in the UAE in the middle of the desert. In the past, the UAE suffered from water scarcity and a lack of arable soil. There were two of the major challenges the country faced in its agricultural history. Since then, with the intervention of technological innovation, an increase in water as a resource, and the introduction of cutting-edge irrigation systems there has been a transformation in UAE’s agriculture business.  

A 2021 Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report on Organic Agriculture presented around 3.1 million farmers across 187 nations actively involved in organic farming over 72.3 million hectares of land. In fact, the current worth of the global organic produce sector is over USD 250 billion and will reach upto USD 437 billion by 2026. 

Let us walk you through the process of organic farming in the UAE and how it is emerging as a potential business option.  

The Global Organic Farming Industry

Organic farming chiefly relies on sustainable agricultural techniques such as crop rotation, green manure, composting, biological pest control etc. What makes organic farming distinct from traditional agricultural practices is that such farming occurs without the use of artificial (synthetic) pesticides, fertilisers, livestock feed additives or growth regulators.  

Instead, the organic farmers utilise products like organic manure and compost to provide the necessary nutrition to their plants and apply techniques like crop rotation to help with weed and pest control. Additionally, they rope in beneficial birds and insects for pest control and boost their organic produce.  

The global organic farming market size is expected to grow up to USD 187.84 billion in 2023 from USD 169.04 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 11.1%. Furthermore, with the current global economic situation, the organic farming industry worldwide is predicted to reach a market size of USD 287.83 billion in 2027 at a CAGR of 11.3%. 

Advantages of Organic Farming in UAE

Nowadays, more farmers are opting to diversify their agriculture business in organic farming. This is because holistically, it has several benefits, such as: 

Healthier produce

The crops grown using organic farming have proven to be fresher because of the lack of artificial preservatives. Additionally, there is a reduced possibility of human contamination as there is an absence of harmful chemicals, pesticides or growth hormones. 

Environmentally beneficial

The biggest plus point of organic farming is that its foundation lies in natural processes. Practices such as composting and crop rotation are crucial to maintaining and improving soil health. They also help in restoring carbon levels in the soil and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Better economic output

Among the many benefits of organic farming in UAE is the fact that it is a more profitable venture than traditional farming. Not only does organic produce sell at a premium rate, but farmers also cut back on costs for expensive artificial pesticides and fertilisers.  

Ultimately, organic farming is gaining momentum as a more sustainable lifestyle choice. With the intricacies of modern-day living, more people are opting to incorporate organic produce in their diets to ensure a healthy and sustainable future. 

Farming activities in the UAE & their licenses

To start the process of an organic farm in Dubai, UAE, it is essential to identify the farming activity you want to conduct. There are several types of farming activities for which licenses are issued: 

  • Aquaculture license allows for farming of fishery and other sea creatures
  • Agricultural activity practise is a license that covers a wide range of agricultural activities 
  • Livestock production permit allows you to conduct livestock farming 

Farmers can apply for one or more of the above-mentioned activities to start their organic farming business in the UAE. Farmers must mandatorily declare the exact produce they will be growing as well as the techniques they will be applying to grow their crops. You will also need additional permits depending on the type of farm you want to setup. For example, when starting an aquaculture business, farmers will need an environmental permit. On the other hand, when raising livestock, it is mandatory to have you, or an employee have a certified veterinary license.  

Most farming activities require you to have a plot to conduct the farming activities. To do so you will need to get a farming approval from the local municipality. After that, you will also need permits for farming equipment. The Dubai Municipality will also conduct a final inspection of the entire facility. Finally, you will need an approval from the agriculture department as well. 

To get an approval for conducting organic farming activities, you will need an organic certification. The Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) carries out a Conformity Assessment after which you can start labelling your goods as organic.  

How to obtain an organic farming license in UAE

The process of starting your organic agriculture business can be straightforward with experts like Shuraa Business Setup by your side. They will help you with the necessary applications and outline all the activities you want to carry out. Additionally, they will assist you naming your organic farming business while ensuring you comply with the naming laws of the UAE. Shuraa also submits the business application to the Dubai Economic Department as well as the local municipality on your behalf. 

During the application process, you will need to submit the following documents: 

  • Duly filled application form 
  • Passport copies of all shareholders
  • Details of farming activities you want to conduct 

You can also apply for your residency visa to smoothly operate your organic farming business in UAE. You can also submit visa applications for your employees as well as family members. The number of visas you can apply for depends on the business setup type, company size, and personal income (for family visas). 

Organic Farming Cost in UAE

Farmers wanting to setup their own organic farm need to factor in various costs before they start their agriculture business in UAE. The license cost starts from AED 10,000* with additional costs to be factored in for organic accreditation (application and assessment fees).  

Organic farmers will also need to consider these following costs:

  • Purchasing or renting land for farming
  • Equipment and livestock/seeds cost
  • Hiring adequate workforce
  • Veterinary/animal care
  • Insurance 

Take the first step towards an organic future

With the newer generations becoming more ecologically conscious, it is a correct decision to tap into the organic farming market. UAE and specially Dubai is home to a huge expat population as well as being a resource rich land. Therefore, there is a huge potential to turn organic farming into a profitable venture.  

Shuraa Business Setup is your one-stop solution to all your company formation needs in the UAE. We have assisted over 50,000 entrepreneurs over the past 22 years with all their different corporate needs. Our services are personalised and cover every aspect of the business setup process in the UAE. Navigate through the legal complexities with ease with our expert business setup consultants. Get a custom quote; contact Shuraa Business Setup at +971 4 4081900. or WhatsApp us on +971 50 7775554 and Email: [email protected]. 

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