Unlocking the potential of Protected Agriculture in the GCC countries: cutting water consumption while supporting improved nutrition and food security

Problem Overview

Protected agriculture receives special attention from decision-makers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries because it produces high quality crops in marginal climatic conditions. However, this type of agriculture consumes large amounts of water and energy due to the cooling system which is based on evaporative pads. 

In response to the need for a more cost-effective system, researchers at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) have developed a new design of net house to cut down on the use of water and energy and keep optimum quality and production of crops at the same time, similar to plants grown in traditional greenhouses.

Considering that protected agriculture is a major source of food supply in the Middle East, new principles of evapo-condensation applied in the new type of greenhouse will greatly boost productivity and water use efficiency across the region. This technology also offers excellent potential for using unconventional water sources like saline water and treated grey water. Thus, greenhouse production of both vegetable crops and fresh water is becoming a reality. This initiative is hoped to pave the way for much broader cooperation across the Middle East in this field.

Research Innovation Theme

Crop productivity and diversification

Downloadable files
January 2015 - January 2016
Project Lead
Project Region
Near East and North Africa
Project Countries
Saudi Arabia
United Arab Emirates
  • Ministry of Environment and Water of the United Arab Emirates (MOEW)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
  • International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA)
  • International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
  • Watergy - Technical University of Berlin (TUB)