An international team of scientists is carrying out experiments on a new generation of greenhouses at the Agriculture Innovation Centre in Al Dhaid, Sharjah, the UAE, which can help to save up to 90% of water and cut significantly on energy. The experiments are being conducted by a group of researchers from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), the International Center for Agriculture in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Water (MoEW) of the UAE and the research group Watergy at Technical University of Berlin (TBU).
Funded by the MoEW, the research initiative aims to promote key protected agriculture solutions adapted to desert conditions and boost protected agriculture in the UAE and Gulf Cooperation Council countries. The significant amount of water savings in this type of greenhouse can have additional advantages such as: productivity is five times higher than that in the open; pest, diseases and weed control is considerably more effective than in the open; and zero pollution of groundwater compared with the open.
As part of this initiative, researchers and experts from Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the UAE met at the ICBA head office in Dubai, the UAE, on September 14-15, 2015, to discuss progress so far and next steps. Participants discussed initial findings on crop productivity and quality; low and medium technological solutions, and put forward policy options for public and private-sector decision makers.
This work is hoped to contribute to the pursuit of ensuring food and water security for sustainable social and economic development in the region and beyond.