Buraidah, Saudi Arabia, 4-5 November 2019
The National Research and Development Center for Sustainable Agriculture “Estidamah” participated in the Second Qassim Forum for Creativity and Innovation held under the slogan “Smart Agriculture is Creativity and Food Security”, at King Khalid Cultural Center in Buraidah, Saudi Arabia, from 4th to 5th November 2019.
In the event, Estidamah presented the findings of its cutting-edge experiments on production and water use efficiency where the latest greenhouse technologies were used. Three levels of technology were tested. The low-tech greenhouse – a plastic tunnel greenhouse cooled using a pad and fan system – is normally used for year-round production. Conversely, the mid-tech greenhouse – covered with glass and cooled using the pad and fan system while regulating the amount of ventilation through frequency-controlled fans had production increased by more than 2 kgs/week; meaning that more than 70 kgs of yield increase on an annual base. In addition, while the high-tech greenhouse proved the most efficient in water use – consuming less than 4 liters per kg of tomato – it turned out to be less feasible.
In his speech at the Forum, Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Ibrahim – advisor to the Saudi Energy Ministry – stressed that “Saudi Arabi consumes more than 26 Billion M3 of water, mainly by the agricultural sector. If the same water consumption ratio is continued, the Kingdom will use more than 32 billion M3 of water by 2030. Yet, we still have a great opportunity to save and rationalize water use through modern agricultural technologies, while maintaining or even boosting agricultural production.