Sunday, October 10, 2010
Bite the dust and the substitute: more bite the dust
"The latest subsidies scheme to bite the dust in Abu Dhabi was for the cultivation of Rhodes grass, an animal-feed crop that drank more water than it was worth. The substitute, reported in The National today, is a Dh100,000 grant for farmers who follow irrigation and maintenance guidelines set by the Farmers Service Centre. Wheat and barley are meant to become the main staples for animal feed. It's a step in the right direction. Wheat and barley have been cultivated in the Middle East since the dawn of agriculture, and staples in the Gulf even after they were supplanted by rice imports. But large-scale cereal agriculture will continue to stress the water supply, either from precious well sources or expensive desalination."