Eco Factor: Using technology to convert arid land into farmable land.
Most nations in the Gulf have rich sources of oil, but when it comes to farming, these nations look to buy land in developing nations and rely on food imports. Abu Dhabi has now conducted a survey to identify areas with underground water supply and soil quality that can be enhanced for farming.
The survey has identified over 200,000 hectares of land that can be used for agriculture provided the right investment is made. The project is expected to cost tens of millions of dirhams but is expected to be worth the effort because with this land vegetable and fodder production can be increased by up to 70 percent.
This farmable land is not expected to guarantee 100 percent food security for the UAE, but will make sure that these nations aren’t as dependent on foreign soil as they are today. The team is looking to mix soil with selected types of fungus that enhances the growth of plant roots in arid areas. Dubbed mycorrhiza, these microbes allow plant roots to absorb nutrients from the soil, which in the current condition isn’t possible.