Technical Tours

Technical tours give participants the opportunity to visit some of the very best sustainable farming operations and businesses plus R&D facilities and engage with industry experts. 

22 March 2017 (please note that exhibition and conference are both closed on the 22nd March - Technical tours only)
09:00 - 12:00 Aquaponics Farm, Abu Dhabi
09:00 - 12:00 UAE University - Date Palm Development Research Unit                                                                                                             09:00 - 12:00 Abu Dhabi Farmers' Services Centre Farm, Abu Dhabi
13:00 - 18:30 The Seawater Energy and Agricultural System (SEAS)
13:00 - 18:30 International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Dubai

More information on each Technical Tour is listed below.

Tours are free of charge and include return journey via bus. All buses will pick-up and drop-off at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.

Registration for these tours will be open at during the event on 20-21 March and places will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Please register at the Technical Tours desk close to the entrance of hall 8.

09:00 - 12:00 Aquaponics Farm, Abu Dhabi

Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. In aquaponics the nutrient-rich water that results from raising fish provides a source of natural fertilizer for the growing plants. As the plants consume the nutrients, they help to purify the water that the fish live in. A natural microbial process keeps both the fish and plants healthy. This is a novel and innovative project - it is the first farm in UAE with this technology and has a long-standing association with ADFCA.

09:00 - 12:00 UAE University - Date Palm Development Research Unit

The Date Palm Tissue Culture Laboratory (DPTCL), founded in February 1989, belongs to the United Arab Emirates University and took several years to reach its technical establishment. The DPTCL is internationally recognized as one of the major commercial Date Palm Mass Propagation Unit.

The DPTCL has the following infrastructure:

  • A date palm gene pool area : 20 hectares 

  • Growth chambers: Eight (8) rooms with capacity of 90,000 culture each. 

  • Hardening facilities: 19 greenhouses and 10 nurseries. (5 hectares). Fifteen (15) more hectares are also available for more greenhouse and nurseries.

  • Laboratory super cies: 2,000 m2 with 1,200 m2 under aseptic conditions. 

  • Working stations for cultures and 
subcultures: 32 (16 Air Laminar Flow Hoods). 

So far the DPDRU had produced and distributed about 1,000,000 (1 Million) date palms of 65 different varieties (e.g: Khlass, Nabtat Saif, Sultana, Barhee, Rziz, Chichi, Sakai, Abu Maan, Fard White, Khadri, Lulu, Majhool, Al Ain City Male, Ghanami Male) with an annual production of approximately 80,000 date palm plants. 
The DPDRU is implementing an annual programme to introduce new selected date varieties and to reintroduce the existing ones in order to continuously make young cultures available. 

In the Date Palm Development Research Unit Dept, visitors can learn and see the process of date palm tissue culture from the 0 stages (mothers plants) to finale products (date palm plantation issue from tissue culture), the media preparation using for tissue culture, the subculture of plants inside of the laminar flow cabinet, the growth room, the process of sterilization.

13:00 - 18:30 The Seawater Energy and Agricultural System (SEAS)

The Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS) is an integrated system of aquaculture, halo-agriculture, and mangrove silviculture to produce sustainable food and biomass. The facility is fully powered by solar energy.

During system operation, water is fed into the aquaculture ponds, where shrimp and fish are grown. The nutrient rich  effluent seawater is used to irrigate and fertilize halo-agricultural  fields, where salt-loving (halophytic) plants, in this case Salicornia bigelovii, are  grown  on arid land  and harvested for their oilseeds and biomass, which can later be converted into aviation biofuel. The leftover seed meal can also be used as feed for the fish and shrimp or as a source of protein for animal feed. Finally, the effluent coming from the Salicornia fields is channeled to mangrove swamps, which filters the water further before it is recirculated back into the seawater blend tank which supplies the aquaculture ponds.

13:00 - 18:30 International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Dubai

ICBA is an international, non-profit agricultural research center working towards sustainable agricultural production in saline and marginal environments around the world. Established in 1999, the Center is hosted by the United Arab Emirates. Most of the Center’s research and innovation initiatives are supported by its strategic core partners such as the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment of the UAE, the Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, and the Islamic Development Bank.

ICBA is one of only a few international research organizations in the world that work on natural resources management systems that address agricultural challenges in marginal environments. Over the years, the Center has grown into a leading hub of agricultural research and innovation.

  • Greenhouse and Net House: ICBA’s new design of greenhouse and net house cuts down on the use of water and energy and keeps optimum quality and production of crops at the same time, similar to plants grown in traditional greenhouses.
  • SCADA: ICBA’s SCADA is a control system that combines up-to-date, real-time data from weather stations with data from soil moisture and salinity sensors. It helps to test crops for salinity tolerance and optimize water productivity, and ensure accuracy of experimental conditions.
  • Integrated Aqua-Agriculture SystemsResearch is under way in an area of 1.5 hectares to show on-farm management of available water resources (freshwater and brine) produced from desalinization units to reduce environmental hazards while maximizing profitability by growing aquatic and halophytic species.
  • Date Palm: In an area of 2.5 hectares, ICBA scientists carry out research to assess the long-term impact of different levels of irrigation water salinity on the growth, development, and production of several varieties of elite date palm varieties that are common in the UAE.
  • Treated Wastewater: An area of 1 hectare is used to evaluate the impact of using treated municipal wastewater for irrigation on vegetables, landscaping plants, forage, date palms and agricultural production systems.
  • Climate Change: ICBA’s work on climate change focuses on two different fields – identifying future vulnerable areas through downscaling and modeling, and developing adaptation measures in crop and water management to cope in a drier, hotter world.


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