By PMA RASHEED
28 April 2011, The Gulf Today
Solid parametres to create transparency and stability of prices in the local vegetable market have been implemented by the authorities in the capital.
The Abu Dhabi Farmers’ Services Centre (ADFSC) has set up a weekly price benchmark for locally-grown vegetables, effectively preventing price manipulation by some traders who artificially drive prices high or low.
A top official indicated that the initiative will satisfy customer requirements with competitive prices and quality presentation of the produce, while ensuring a competitive environment for locally-grown products to increase the income of farm owners and develop a sustainable agricultural production.
Christopher Hirst, CEO of the ADFSC, said the weekly list of prices for the purchase of local products from farmers will protect them from daily market fluctuations and the purchase prices will ensure them achieve the highest returns from their products.
The weekly price benchmark has been made available in the vegetables collection centres in the western region of Abu Dhabi.
“The benchmark will create a certain balance in prices through the enhancement of opportunities of marketing the local produce in a way which suits the interest of both the producer and the consumers alike,” he added.
The system sets the average price for the purchase of local produce which is incorporated into supply contracts with farmers, ensuring them a stable marketing opportunity free from the risk of daily price fluctuations.
“Since the beginning of the current farming season, the ADFSC has been implementing different measures to control vegetables prices in the favor of consumers,” he said.
“Customers have witnessed an evident decrease in the cost of vegetables during the last two months as a result of the abundance of local production of fresh vegetables, especially cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbages and eggplants,” according to him.
“Prices of some vegetables also have reduced at unprecedented rates due to the higher volumes of local produce and the increase in the number of marketing channels of the local produce. The ADFSC annual contract agreement enables the farmer to focus on cultivation and production since the marketing is secured for the entire 12-month period.”
“Feasibility studies made about the marketing of the local products suggested that the agricultural marketing centres play a pivotal role as a main marketing channel for farmers and livestock breeders, allowing them to compete in the local market,” elaborated Hirst.
As per the overall price indicator, the majority of vegetables registered a decrease ranging from 40 per cent to 60 per cent during the last two months in comparison with the same period last year.
The centre will launch a comprehensive marketing plan to promote local produce. Infrastructure will be developed to facilitate the delivery, transport, storage and distribution operations of the produce sourced from local farms.
“Provision of suitable marketing channels will guarantee the marketing and the arrival of these products to consumers,” Hirst concluded.