Plans are underway for wheat cultivation in Abu Dhabi in addition to a number of other crops, a senior official told Gulf News on Wednesday.
As part of a research project, about 100 varieties of wheat used for the production of flour used to make bread were cultivated in Al Ain region in early November last year, and the initial results were positive, Mohammad Jalal Al Reyaysa, director of communication and community service at Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA ), said.
The research project is studying all those 100 varieties of wheat in terms of their productivity and suitability to local conditions, he said.
Al Salaamaat Research Stations of ADFCA in Al Ain are continuing the research project to find the wheat variety suitable for the emirate, Al Reyaysa said.
Any further decision on introducing the wheat in farms will be taken based on the final findings of the research, Al Reyaysa said.
The wheat samples were acquired from international research centres such as the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre, Mexico.
The official said the preliminary findings suggested the soil in the emirate was suitable for wheat cultivation.
About the feasibility of utilising huge amounts of water for wheat cultivation, Al Reyaysa said such aspects of large-scale farming were explored under broader research.
Asked the cost-effectiveness of domestic cultivation compared to the import of wheat, he said the research covers all such practical aspects and a final decision will be taken based on those findings.
Although the successful cultivation was carried out in the Al Ain region, the research is exploring the possible cultivation in other areas as well, the official said.
Asked whether the authority will go ahead with the cultivation as part of ensuring strategic food security, if even it is not cost-effective, Al Reyaysa said such a decision will not be made on that single aspect. “We will go ahead with the large-scale farming, considering the feasibility on all fronts,” he said without giving any timeframe for the completion of the research.
He said the research on wheat is followed by a successful research on cultivation of citrus fruits  in the emirate. “We have successfully introduced citrus fruits such as orange and lemon in farms in the emirate a year ago, based on a similar research,” Al Reyaysa said.