In a Region of Oil Production, RAK Succeeds with Agriculture
Wealthy Dubai and many neighboring sheikdoms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) owe their prosperity to abundant oil and gas resources. But one neighboring emirate, Ras Al Khaimah (RAK), has achieved a 200 percent growth in its economy in the past 10 years without those resources.
How does it do it? Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, RAK has successfully developed traditionally strong industries such as agriculture and fishing along with industrialization and tourism.
Agricultural Traditions Continue in Ras Al Khaimah
The fertile plains near Digdaga produce fruits and vegetables along with milk and poultry for domestic consumption and distribution throughout the UAE and the region. RAK’s agricultural and fishing industries enjoy a long history as the emirate’s primary economic sector.
Even today, as Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi guides the emirate toward a diverse economy that includes being one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the region, agriculture remains a mainstay.
Ras Al Khaimah Soil Is Tops in UAE
Although it might lack the vast oil and gas resources of its neighboring emirates, heritage and culture-rich Ras Al Khaimah can boast of having the best soil for agriculture in the UAE. A recent soil survey by the Environmental Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) gave the nod to Ras Al Khaimah for having the best soil in of the Northern Emirates. The EAD survey also revealed the discovery of a new soil type near RAK’s coast. The new soil reportedly contains water, saline and bedrock.
The fact that RAK’s agricultural, livestock and fisheries production accounts for 8.5 percent of that of the UAE highlights the importance of achieving recognition as the best agricultural soil.
The Long Tradition of Agricultural Production
The success of agricultural production in RAK is not by accident. Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi continues a long tradition of fostering the development of agriculture. The first research center in the UAE devoted exclusively to agriculture opened in Ras Al Khaimah in 1955. This resulted in the development of new and innovative cultivation methods aimed at increasing agricultural production in this arid zone.
The fruit, vegetable and grain production in the fertile plains at the base of the Al Hajar Mountains attests to the success of the research and development begun almost 55 years ago. It also illustrates how forward-thinking leadership has brought the emirate to where it is today.
Potential Investment Opportunities
As RAK continues to see the growth of its agriculture, fisheries and livestock sector, it continues to attract attention from companies and investment groups looking for opportunities in the food and dairy-related products industries. This development of a secondary industry sector related to an existing agricultural sector fits the goals of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi to have a diversified economic structure in the emirate. Strong real estate development, industrial production, tourism and agricultural sectors add to the flexibility that has allowed RAK to weather world-wide economic conditions of the last few years.
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