UAE’s First Female Farmer Has Grown Grapes, Watermelon, and More in the Desert

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The first female farmer in the United Arab Emirates, Amna Khalifa Al Qemzi, began her career decades ago when she sent the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the country’s first president, and founding father, nine baskets full of fruits and vegetables that she had grown in her backyard. This is Amna’s story.

The Beyond Motivating Story of UAE’s First Female Farmer – Amna Khalifa Al Qemzi

Al Qemzi is now acknowledged as a pioneer in organic farming. President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed recently presented her with the Abu Dhabi Award, receiving a very well-deserved recognition for her work educating the local population about environmental sustainability and sharing her knowledge.


Video by Abu Dhabi Awards


The ruler of Abu Dhabi at the time gave her a farm to pursue her agricultural endeavors after realizing her passion and talent. Throughout the years, Al Qemzi has cultivated a wide variety of crops, such as tomatoes, grapes, figs, watermelon, red chili, and more. She was successful in locating seeds abroad and planting them in the United Arab Emirates. Amna did not limit herself to planting in the winter; she also engaged in summertime crop cultivation.


Amna Khalifa Al Qemzi receiving her Abu Dhabi Award
Photo: @abudhabiawards


Amna’s Early Beginnings in the Horticulture World

Al Qemzi’s passion for agriculture began as a hobby during the era of Sheikh Shakhbut bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the twelfth ruler of Abu Dhabi. She remembers planting watermelon seeds, harvesting them successfully, and spending three days with Sheikh Shakhbut sharing the produce.


Amna Khalifa Al Qemzi on Thursd

The first female farmer Amna Khalifa Al Qemzi from the UAE


Impressed by her achievements, Sheikh Shakhbut remarked:

“Our land is indeed blessed, as she – Amna – has tried and succeeded.”

She began her farming endeavor in a small area of her family’s yard, but her perseverance and dedication allowed her to grow her business. Sheikh Zayed was so impressed with her produce that he had a farm registered for her. This prompted her to grow a wide variety of crops, such as figs, grapes, and more than seventy different types of fruits and vegetables. Amna encourages everyone, regardless of their land size, to engage in farming.


Purple tomatoes produced in Buzabi by Amna

Purple tomatoes produced in Buzabi


She happily and proudly expresses:

“I encourage everyone who has an area at home, no matter how small it is, to plant. Even a farmer, when he sees his harvest, it brings him joy.”


Strawberry production in Dubai
The beginning of strawberry production in Dubai by Amna
Photo: @amnabntkhalifa

Ibrahim Al Hashmi, executive manager of the Sultan bin Ali Al Owais Culture Foundation described her as a symbol of history, authenticity, giving, and generosity. He also mentioned how unique she is, sharing how Amna should be considered a role model for future generations. She doesn’t wait for others to create, she creates herself, and thus she deserves it.

A Story of Inspiration for Many Young Farmers

Amna acquired reading and writing skills through the Katateeb while growing up in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, becoming proficient in literacy at a young age. She finally became interested in the environmental sciences, especially organic agriculture, because she was fascinated by the complex balance of nature. Amna has been a shining example in her community for more than forty years, encouraging organic farming and imparting her knowledge to those in her vicinity. Many people and families have benefited from her leadership, which has enabled them to adopt sustainable farming methods and given them the skills necessary to adjust to the changing seasons.


Amna Khalifa Al Qemzi grapes and figs on Thursd


Many young farmers and youth in the UAE have found profound inspiration and guidance in Al Qemzi’s story, which for her, marks an incredible milestone in her career. When people in the United Arab Emirates think of Amna Al Qemzi, they think of a pioneer in agriculture. She has defied convention by bringing seeds from other nations and planting them in their lands.

Additionally, people have also expressed their admiration for Amna’s agricultural pioneering spirit, which has motivated many to take their first step in the agriculture world and jumpstart their careers. A story to admire for sure!

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