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An innovative agricultural system can be developed with the help of modular greenhouses and elongated conveyor belt to grow food even in the desert. Middle Eastern countries, such as Qatar and United Arab Emirates are facing problems in the food growth; therefore they have to import more than 90% of their food. The intensity of the situation is growing day by day, because with the growth of local cities, it is becoming more expensive to transport food to these areas. To overcome this trouble, the architectures are looking for different ways to have a new agricultural system to grow sufficient food, even in the desert and delivery of food through solar-powered conveyor belts to reduce the expenses of transportation through trucks.
OAXIS (A Conceptual Design)
OAXIS refers to the theoretical design for the prefabricated greenhouses in the solar panels that could be located in a straight line into the desert away from the city. The buildings support passive design to keep the intense heat of 120-degree in the summer season away. The solar panels can transfer the power to the rest of the building to ultimately send the additional energy back into the city.
Designers are interested to construct smallest carbon footprint while skipping usually transportation, because they are interested in the creation of a unique conveyor system to cut the expense of fossil fuels in the delivery of products. There will be no restriction in the running of conveyor belt, because it will be based on the underground design.
The architect Javier Ponce the founder of “Forward Thinking Architecture” states that the design of the project should be flexible enough to send crops to the city without any interruption.
Benefits of the Plan
The farmers will be able to grow different crops like lettuce, tomatoes and strawberries in the prefabricated greenhouses. They will use a hydroponic system to reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides. In this way, you can save the 80% consumption of water as compared to the traditional agriculture, because the system allows you to recycle and reuse the water. The source of water is still not clear, but the designers are looking for the groundwater supply to fulfill all needs of the farm, but there are lots of Middle Eastern countries having reliance on desalination.
A minute part of the recycled water is also used to construct an outdoor garden and an imitated oasis for education purpose. The Ponce said that “It is not sufficient to farm only building, because there should be pedagogical approach and it should become a biodiversity hub that should be open for local people and visitors”.
The sparse rainfall of the region is ideal for the small desert populations, but it is not reality, and it could not support local crops. The Ponce also says that the current situation is favorable for smaller and denser cities of the Arabian Peninsula, but the constant growth of the population makes it urgent to have some other system and resources. The area faced quick urbanization since the middle of the 20th century.
The current project can be challenging with the changes in climate, but it will prove helpful in the supply of food. The OAXIS project is a corresponding substitute to respond to the insecurity of food and scarcity of water in the region. Basically, the plan is targeted to reduce the imports of food in the future on the basis of renewable energies.
Ponce is much hopeful to make the project practically successful with the cooperation of local governments. The countries in this region are really desperate to get a permanent solution. The Qatar has invested hundreds of millions to increase the growth of local food near 2030.