Parched Jordan starts growing vegetables in desert

September 7, 2017
The Sahara Forest Project near Jordan's Aqaba aims to produce 130 tonnes of organic vegetables a year

Jordan, a water-poor country that is 90-percent desert, on Thursday launched a project to turn its sand dunes into farming land to produce food using sun and sea water.

King Abdullah II and Norway's Crown Prince Haakon attended a ceremony to mark the official opening of the "Sahara Forest Project" near the southern port city of Aqaba.

In a first stage, the aims to produce up to 130 tonnes of organic vegetables per year from an area the size of four football pitches.

It will use solar panels to provide power and include outdoor planting space, two saltwater-cooled greenhouses, a water desalination unit and for salt production.

The project, whose funders include Norway and the European Union, is later to be expanded from three hectares (seven acres) to around 200 hectares (490 acres) of desert.

"This is a project that has a great promise for the future," Norway's Haakon told journalists.

"It is impressive to see how technology can be used in such a sustainable way to produce agricultural goods in a quite tough climate like here."

Crown Prince Haakon of Norway (L) and King Abdullah II of Jordan (C) visit the Sahara Forest Project

The project's director, Joakim Hauge, said the scheme tapped into Jordan's existing resources.

"Jordan has a lot of sunlight, it has a lot of desert, it has , it has CO2. That is what we need to produce food, water and renewable energy."

Explore further: Jordan to launch 'first phase' of Dead Sea canal

Related Stories

Morocco launches first solar power plant

February 4, 2016

King Mohammed VI on Thursday inaugurated Morocco's first solar power plant, a massive project that the country sees as part of its goal of boosting its clean energy output.

Image: Thar Desert, India

June 16, 2017

The Copernicus Sentinel-2A satellite brings us over northwest India with this false-colour image captured on 4 March 2017.

Seawater greenhouses to bring life to the desert

July 14, 2015

Greenhouses that will use seawater to grow crops in one of the hottest and driest places on earth will be designed by researchers at Aston University working with industry partners as part of an international project.

Recommended for you

EPA adviser is promoting harmful ideas, scientists say

March 22, 2019

The Trump administration's reliance on industry-funded environmental specialists is again coming under fire, this time by researchers who say that Louis Anthony "Tony" Cox Jr., who leads a key Environmental Protection Agency ...

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.