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Gulf looks to science to turn desert to farmland
By Amena Bakr
(Reuters) – Gulf nations hope science will turn desert areas into arable land to boost food security and avoid the risks inherent in buying farmland abroad, industry insiders said Monday.
Farming in the Gulf battles against little water supply, high soil salinity and extreme heat. But many of the countries in the region have the cash to adopt expensive solutions that others could not.
Abu Dhabi has conducted a soil survey to identify areas with underground water supplies and soil quality that could be enhanced, said Faisal Taha, who headed the project by the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency.
The survey found over 200,000 hectares of land that could be used for agriculture given the right investment, Taha told Reuters on the sidelines of an industry conference in Abu Dhabi.