Friday, 16 April 2021 02:24 GMT

Revolutionary greenhouse farming to harness Oman's sunlight, seawater


(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman which has abundance of sun and seawater can harvest these two resources to grow high value crops in greenhouses and tackle the issue of food security.

The sultanate is being looked at as a potential market by Australia-based Sundrop Farms for the company's eco-friendly technology that could revolutionise greenhouse farming. The firm has spoken to potential partners in Oman.

Sundrop Farms is the only company in the world with the technology and know-how to develop and operate greenhouses in locations that have little or no access to arable land fresh water sources or grid energy.

The company has created a proprietary food production system which grows high-quality produce year-round in greenhouses that use the abundant and renewable resources of sunlight and seawater.

'Oman is a market of interest for us. It not only meets our climate requirements from a solar standpoint but also presents an attractive commercial market with access to a long shoreline for seawater' said Khuram Maqsood managing director Sundrop Farms Middle East. 'We have spoken to potential partners in Oman and are very encouraged by the opportunity to build our greenhouses in the sultanate. Oman imports over 65 per cent of its food and we can help reduce its import dependence in key fruits and vegetables segment' he said.

The system used by Sundrop Farms doesn't consume fossil fuels to control the climate in greenhouses but uses the sun's abundant energy. The salt and nutrients collected during the desalination process can be either reused to fertilise crops or sold to other agricultural producers.

Sundrop harnesses solar energy to produce freshwater for irrigation electricity to power greenhouses and energy to heat and cool the crops. The ventilation system uses seawater to clean and sterilise the air making it possible to grow crops using natural pest management.

Additionally valuable farmland and soil is conserved as greenhouses can be set up on degraded land and in arid climates.

Maqsood added 'Sundrop's unique approach to growing vegetables in arid climates is highly complementary to the solutions GCC states are looking at in terms of food security water security and the environment. We look forward to reinforcing relationships with a select group of strategic partners as we expand our presence here.'

The company said that its system operates at its optimum efficiency and profitability when located in arid regions with lots of sunshine close to the sea or a saline water resource and in proximity to consumer end-markets.

'In each of these locations flat land is essential for more cost-effective greenhouse construction. Many countries in the Middle East possess these characteristics and it is therefore our next region of priority' stated the company.

On the issue of most suitable Sundrop technology and variety of crops for the sultanate Maqsood said he would consider a technology solution that addresses the significant cooling requirements during summer months. 'The crop mix would be a function of market demand. Our greenhouses have the capacity to grow a large variety of horticultural produce including tomatoes peppers chillies cucumbers and a variety of fruits.'

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