(12 Dec 2017) LEADIN: A young farmer in Egypt is growing plants using a hydroponic system which he claims is more economical with resources. Instead of using soil, the crops are grown in water channels. STORYLINE: Tiny lettuce plants are carefully placed into pots. But the farmers will not be putting the seedlings into the ground. Instead, they are destined for long channels which flow with water. This site on the Cairo-Alexandra desert road is home to a hydroponic farm – a revolutionary way to grow crops. Amr Bassiouni co-founded Egyptian Hydrofarms and believes cultivating plants this way is a better use of resources. “The water flowing inside the pipes contains all the fertilisers needed to growing the plants,” he says. “This method saves around 95 percent of water used in regular farming methods and also saves around 70 percent of fertilisers and produces from 10 to 30 times more than regular farming methods in every acre.” Egypt uses around 70 percent of its water share in agriculture but is facing a real water scarcity as the supply from the River Nile diminishes. So Bassiouni spent almost a year researching hydroponics before establishing this farm in 2013. “The fact is that in the next 10, 20 or 30 years we will have water scarcity,” he warns. The 31-year old takes care of the agricultural side of the company. They harvest between 250 kilogrammes to 500 kilogrammes (550 to 1,100 pounds) of plants every month. And co-founder Adel El Shentenawy is responsible for marketing those crops – and he thinks there is room to expand sales. “Our marketing is mainly targeting hotels, restaurants and supermarkets,” he says. “When we reach higher production we will start exporting and that will help put Egypt back on the exporting map and get our produce […]
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