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Why a salt water glasshouse makes agriculture possible everywhere

Farmers in Somalia are being given access to an innovative glasshouse that works entirely on sea water and solar panels. The project intends to make agriculture possible in the Horn of Africa.

The glasshouses have been developed by researchers from Aston University in Birmingham. The complex for sustainable agriculture consists of a glasshouse complex, a water pump and a desalination plant that are entirely self-sufficient. The equipment gets its power from the solar panels.

The pumped sea water is desalinated on site. The fresh water is destined for irrigation. An atomiser sprays a small amount of sea water into the glasshouses. There, the water drops make a damp climate that prevents the crop from losing too much moisture through its leaves.

There is also a destination for the residual salt: the farmers use it as kitchen salt and for preserving. 

Food security

The project is a collaboration between Aston University, Gollis University in Somalia and the business leading the project, Seawater Greenhouse. The glasshouses are intended for various locations in Somalia besides the Bay of Aden. The temperature can rise there to far above 40 degrees Celsius. Therefore, the food security is low in the region.

According to researchers, the salt water glasshouse makes sustainable agriculture possible on the hottest and driest places on earth, without having to access costly fresh water. The demand for glasshouses is increasing due to the growing world population, according to research leader, Philip Davies from Aston. 

By 2050, the worldwide yields from agriculture need to have increased by 60% in order to avoid food shortages.

Source: Duurzaam Bedrijfsleven
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