Sustainable agriculture know-how may help Egypt’s water disaster

GettyImages 1228085929 870

Mar 6, 2021

Egyptian scholar Nada Ayman’s venture dubbed the Cultural Desert Gravity Center makes use of the Sinai atmosphere as its fundamental agricultural device. It additionally received the 36th Cycle at the 2020 World Architecture Festival.

The venture — designed to be constructed as a cultural middle in Wadi el-Weshwash within the city of Nuweiba in south Sinai — makes use of the encompassing atmosphere, together with the mountains, to construct an built-in middle offering natural dietary merchandise and pure herbs utilized in manufacturing medicines and perfume merchandise. A vacationer and leisure advanced providing numerous instructional and leisure actions can also be on the horizon, mentioned Ayman.

Ayman, a scholar on the Faculty of Applied Arts at Zagazig University, advised Al-Monitor by way of telephone she selected the venture primarily based on the religious which means of mountains.

She famous, “I was nominated by my professors to participate in the architecture competition. The World Architecture Festival has been in place since 2006, and it has a section dedicated to interior design.”

Ayman mentioned the venture consists of a hydroponic farm, which is a system to develop crops with out soil. The roots of the crops develop in a liquid nutrient answer that’s recycled and reused repeatedly by way of crops. The hydroponic farm produces medicinal crops, used within the manufacture of drugs, and crops that bear fruit to be served with meals within the farm’s restaurant.

Ayman added, “This type of agriculture uses 70% less water than regular agriculture to produce 100% organic products without using soil or fertilizers. Edible products are served at the restaurant of the farm, while herbal and fragrance products are used to manufacture therapeutic oil for the therapeutic center.”

She selected Wadi el-Weshwash as a result of it’s positioned subsequent to a area of wealthy valleys whose water and minerals may be utilized in natural agriculture.

The design of the advanced options a library, a restaurant and an artwork studio, Ayman mentioned, noting that the design reached the ultimate stage of the competitors and was chosen amongst 5 others.

Atef Suweilem, a professor of agricultural engineering at Zagazig University, mentioned the hydroponic agricultural methodology consists of both rising the seeds of crops or herbs in a nutritive water answer containing the principle 12 to 16 vitamins crops want — or rising the crops in an inert stable materials so they don’t work together with the nutritive answer. Using this methodology doesn’t require using chemical fertilizers, the excess of which often seeps into the soil in conventional agriculture, based on Suweilem.

Hydroponic agriculture additionally protects the crops from pests that stay within the soil, as is the case in conventional agriculture, he mentioned, including that historical Egyptians have been the primary to know hydroponics, and maybe the papyrus plant is essentially the most distinguished instance of such a agriculture.

Suweilem mentioned hydroponics is a perfect option to cope with water shortage and local weather change, stressing the necessity for Arab international locations that endure from a scarcity of agricultural lands attributable to their desert nature, together with Egypt, to depend on such a agriculture.

Yasser Ahmed, an knowledgeable in agriculture and a former professor on the Egyptian Agricultural Research Center, harassed the necessity for Egypt to show to hydroponics within the near future, because it helps save water and vitality and will increase productiveness. Ahmed mentioned hydroponic agriculture makes use of 95% much less water in comparison with conventional agriculture. Leaf crops eat about 30% much less water than conventional agriculture, and if the cultivation of those crops is expanded on the hydroponic farm, that methodology can be utilized broadly, he mentioned.

“This is the future of agriculture. We do not want to depend on imports. We hope we will have local production throughout the year, regardless of climate change, weather, rain or drought,” Ahmed mentioned.

Of all sectors in Egypt, the agricultural sector consumes the most important share of water — which means it consumes roughly greater than 85% of the nation’s share of irrigation water. Although Egypt has misplaced a few of its fertile lands attributable to city sprawl, there may be an try and steadiness this by way of the enlargement of agricultural areas within the desert. The complete cultivated land was estimated at 9.Three million acres — 3.2 million acres of that are in lands just lately reclaimed by the state and 6.9 million acres in different lands, based on the most recent 2019 statistics of the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.

Agriculture is important to the Egyptian financial system, as its added worth represents about 14.5% of the gross home product. In 2016, agricultural revenue reached 256.9 billion Egyptian kilos ($16.Three billion). The sector additionally employs 29.6% of the working inhabitants and represents 11% of all exports. Because of the water scarcity, the federal government issued measures in January 2018 to restrict the cultivation of water-intensive crops akin to rice.