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UAE's 'green dreamers' are joining the vital fight to bolster food and water security.

Photo: Abdulla Al Kaabi

Innovations originating from the Emirates agricultural sector are taking center stage at a significant environmental exhibition in Doha. UAE visionaries are dedicated to translating eco-friendly aspirations into tangible solutions, addressing food wastage and bolstering water security as part of an ambitious sustainability initiative.

These environmental champions are showcasing groundbreaking technologies at the International Horticultural Expo in Doha, as part of the UAE pavilion's participation in the six-month-long event, which concludes on March 28. Themed "Green Desert, Better Environment," this expo marks the first time an international horticultural exhibition is held in a desert-climate country.

Among the featured projects is Circa Biotech, a UAE-based AgriTech company revolutionizing waste management by converting food waste into animal feed. Their innovative approach utilizes black soldier fly larvae to metabolize food waste into proteins and fats suitable for poultry and aquaculture. Dr. Haythem Riahi, the company's co-founder, highlights the sustainable nature of their process, capable of processing three tonnes of waste per day at their facility in Masdar City and aiming to scale up to 1,000 tonnes annually in Al Ain.

Another standout exhibit is an indoor vertical farm leveraging hydroponic technology, presented by Abdulla Al Kaabi, founder of Smart Acres. This farm produces pesticide-free leafy greens with significantly reduced land and water requirements compared to traditional farming methods.

Dr. Dinesh Shetty, an assistant professor of chemistry at Khalifa University, introduces a water-purification system designed to remove toxic pesticides and contaminants swiftly, ensuring access to clean water for agricultural and domestic use.

Dr. Saeed Al Hassan, a professor at Khalifa University and co-founder of Emirati startup Manhat, outlines plans to harness solar energy to enhance water security. Their innovative approach utilizes solar-powered distillation to generate fresh water from the ocean, with aspirations to construct floating farms irrigated with this harvested water.

The UAE pavilion itself is a testament to sustainable design, inspired by the resilient ghaf tree, featuring rammed earth walls and indigenous gardens. Designed by Giulia Frittoli from Bjarke Ingels group, the pavilion showcases Qatar-sourced materials, highlighting the region's geological diversity.

With its thematic gardens and experiential outdoor spaces, the pavilion offers visitors a glimpse into the power of plants as sources of food, health, and energy, reinforcing the UAE's commitment to environmental stewardship and sustainability.

March 19, 2024 4:44 p.m. 18843

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