Agriculture to Flourish in the Sahara?

Staff Writer
Norwegian environmentalist takes on green initiative for barren lands, and apparently succeeds.

Max Wahrhaftig

In a country that imports 93 percent of its food, it’s no surprise that there are initiatives being taken to improve its agriculture. With temperatures that reach up to 120 degrees and roughly three inches of rain per year, Qatar is a primal example of a country that deals with climate change in a progressive way.

Joakim Hauge is the CEO of the Sahara Forest Project, an environmental business that aims to improve and strengthen agriculture in dry climates while remaining accessible enough that local resources fuel the salt-water based greenhouses that they implement. PBS reports, “The design is meant to mimic a natural eco-system, where the waste product from one component provides the food or fuel for another.” Through these systems, saltwater is pumped through small sustainable greenhouses to cool the air, while a mirror, reflecting sunlight, and carbon dioxide pumped in from a nearby factory, aid in the growth and nourishment of plants. The pools of saltwater that provide the stream for cooling also grow algae in them, allowing for the potential of biofuel development.

While still in the testing phase of these greenhouses, they prove themselves to be working well and are successful at redistributing appropriate nutrients to the soil. The technologies can be implemented anywhere that has a dry climate and access to saltwater — opening up agricultural possibilities for many countries that struggle to grow food on their own.

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