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Qatar’s 1st pilot water-saving greenhouse launched

Qatar’s 1st pilot water-saving greenhouse launched

Rahul Preeth
Shahaniya
Qatar’s first pilot water-saving greenhouse was launched at one of Hassad Food’s greenhouses in Al Shahaniya on Monday, testing out a promising new method that could drastically change the way crops are cultivated in the country.
The project brings together Norwegian technology, Hassad’s greenhouse and Qatar Fertiliser Company’s (QAFCO) tailored fertiliser recipe in an ambitious attempt to cut water consumption by 90 percent in local tomato cultivation.
The pilot greenhouse was engineered by Norwegian chemical company Yara International and developed in collaboration with Hassad Food, QAFCO and Wageningen University.
It is being executed in partnership with Trane Qatar, Jiffy, Hoogendoorn and MST Holland.
The researchers behind the project aim to cultivate up to 100 kilos of tomatoes from 1 square metre of soil, with a water consumption rate of less than one litre per tomato.
Qatar’s average tomato yield in the same area in an open field, under traditional farming practices, is around 5 kilos, requiring 60 litres of water per tomato.
The project seeks to achieve its objective by minimising the crops’ dependence on what Qatar lacks — fertile soil, favourable climate and fresh water — and maximizing what Qatar has in abundance — sunlight, said Karina Enikeeva, manager of Yara’s farming excellence programme in Qatar.
Tomatoes have been chosen for the pilot because it is the toughest crop to cultivate in Qatar, Sheikh Faleh bin Naser al Thani, Ministry of Municipality and Environment’s Undersecretary Assistant for Agriculture Affairs, said.
If the project is successful, it will be replicated on a bigger scale and with a wider range of crops, he added.
“When we implement an innovative water-saving system and apply the tailored fertilizer recipes in the pilot greenhouse, we will be able to increase production by 20 times the average in Qatar and reduce the water consumption by 90 percent, which will certainly contribute to local agricultural development,” said Hassad CEO Mohamed Badr al Sadah.
Abdulrahman al Suwaidi, QAFCO’s CEO, added, “QAFCO is proud to support such initiatives in line with Qatar’s Food Security objective.”
The project was launched in a ceremony attended by Crown Prince Haakon of Norway and its Minister of Trade and Industry Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, along with the chief executives of Hassad and Yara and several Norwegian and Qatari officials.

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