Some Egyptians are shifting to soilless farming due to water constraint and declining arable land.
Experts however, have warned that the cumbersome upfront expenditures and certain crop limitations could prevent widespread adoption in the African country.
Soilless agriculture, also known as hydroponics, involves cultivating plants using nutrient-rich water outside the traditional soil, typically within controlled greenhouses and soilless substrates like sand, gravel, clay, foam, or sponge provide support for plant roots.
In certain applications, fish tanks are integrated into the system to transfer nutrient-rich animal waste to plants cultivated in water.
According to the UN, Egypt faces an annual water deficit and is projected to be classified as water-scarce by 2025 due to climate change and the construction of a dam by Ethiopia on a major tributary of the River Nile, Egypt’s primary source of freshwater.
Simultaneously, arable land, constituting less than 5 percent of Egypt, is diminishing due to urbanization, with the remaining 95 percent being desert.
Egypt, being one of the world’s largest wheat importers, is particularly vulnerable to disruptions in wheat supply chains, as demonstrated by the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on global shocks and heightened food insecurity.