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Minister of Climate Change and Environment Rolls out School Gardening Competition

His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, has launched a school gardening competition, set to run until end-April 2019, in collaboration with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).

His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi announced the start of the competition during a visit to Al Sadiq Islamic English School in Dubai, where he toured the school’s green spaces that engage its students in gardening activities and provide them with hands-on experience. 

His Excellency Al Zeyoudi said: “The competition is in line with the Cabinet Resolution No. 31 of 2018 on community plantation and agriculture, issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Aiming to nurture a love for the earth and the environment in youngsters early on and pique their interest in growing fruits and vegetables, the competition will also introduce them to diverse cultivation practices, such as hydroponics, organic farming and modern irrigation.”

His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi added that the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) encourages academic institutions to turn their unused spaces into productive gardens with the help of their students. MOCCAE will coordinate with the entities to assist them in incorporating gardening into their curricula. As part of this priority, the Ministry will supervise all steps of the crop production process to ensure the schools closely follow its guidelines and those stipulated by other relevant authorities.

On his part, His Excellency Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of KHDA, said: “Through our visit to Al Sadiq Islamic English School, we were pleased to see how the students were enthusiastic and eager to learn agricultural practices. The competition will add value to the positive educational system in Dubai and will help students to acquire new skills.”

He added: “We, at KHDA, are more than happy to join forces with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to encourage and enable our future generation to help conserve the country’s natural resources and embrace the concept of sustainability.”

Criteria to determine the winner of the gardening competition include utilizing water-saving irrigation methods and organic farming techniques, ratio of cultivated land to the school’s total area, quantity and quality of crops, and absence of pests. Participating schools will also be assessed on their efforts at driving innovation, and presenting an educational plan for enhancing students’ knowledge of agricultural practices. The three top-scoring schools will receive prizes in kind.

Details of the competition can be found on the MOCCAE website. The page contains an easy-to-understand instruction manual on crop cultivation as well as the best time for planting and harvesting each crop.

Community farming promotes optimum utilization of unused residential spaces and building rooftops for agricultural activities. Benefits include increasing food security, diversity and self-sufficiency, raising environmental awareness, advancing the concept of sustainable cities, and urban greening.  


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