The Agency of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture in the Kingdom stated that the project aims to “continue developing studies and experiments approved in agriculture on sea water, at the Fisheries Research Center in Jeddah.”
The project enables the reduction of water waste and energy costs in the production of fish and vegetables by adopting a closed system to fully recycle seawater, in addition to special cooling in greenhouses without using any other water source, as the success of cooling systems was studied in light of changes in temperature and humidity throughout the season. The entire system was powered by solar energy.
The Undersecretary for Agriculture Affairs, Eng. Ahmed bin Saleh Al-Ayyadah, affirmed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia “is the first country in the region to succeed in this important research project in order to promote agricultural development in coastal areas, in the interest of production efficiency and sustainability, and in order to provide an integrated research model for vegetable production. The fish is a closed system to circulate and desalinate sea water.
The project is characterized by relying on sea water completely without using any other water sources, and also relying on sea water for cooling for greenhouses, in addition to operating the entire system using solar energy.
Over the past five years, the project has used three systems in agriculture: traditional protected agriculture, hydroponic cultivation, and integrative (aquaponic) cultivation between fish and plants, during which tomatoes, green peppers, lettuce, mint, basil and fish were produced.
Water and food security is considered one of the risks that several Arab countries face, including Saudi Arabia. The country whose climate is hot and dry, with the exception of the southwestern highlands, so evaporation controls the movement of water after the rains, in addition to the quality of the soil that it receives, not to mention its scarcity and the breadth of the country, which covers more than 22 million square meters of land, most of which is desert, which prompted the government To take measures to reduce the depletion of its water resources.
In early December 2018, the Ministry launched the Good Agricultural Practices Project in the Water Poor Kingdom. Which is known for short as Saudi Gap; With the aim of saving and improving irrigation water consumption in agriculture through the use of modern irrigation methods and the rationalization of the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
The Ministry stated, at the time, that the agricultural sector in Saudi Arabia faces many threats and challenges that negatively affect its future there, as natural resources, including water, land and the environment are affected by natural factors, human activities, increasing population pressure, and inappropriate agricultural practices. Foremost among them is the excessive use of irrigation water, fertilizers and pesticides, which led to the destruction of the biological life of the soil, and the disruption of the relationship between the elements of the environment and the organisms that live on it, in addition to the spread of environmental pollution, the decrease in soil fertility and the increase in desertification, as well as the reduction of available water resources, And climate change.
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