Nothing grows in the desert because the sandy soil is unable to retain water. The Norwegian company Desert Control has found a solution: add a layer of nano clay as top soil of ca. 40-60 cm and the desert can begin to produce crops instantaneously.
Earlier this year a project in Dubai has begun to grow watermelon, zucchini and pearl millet:
Growing melons in the Dubai desert in 2020
The way it works is that a mixture of water and clay particles is spayed over sandy soil, sinks into it and mixes with the sand, increasing the ability to hold water like a sponge and add minerals to the mix and you are ready to go plant your crops. You will need less than half the water to achieve good results. The liquid nanoclay is only a little thicker than water and easily percolates into the soil; you can even use sprinklers.
Dubai, a rich country that imports 90% of its food, is the ideal incubator for this technology. Price tag: $2-5/m2. Desert Control raised $5 million, which it invested in nanoclay producing units with a capacity of 40 m3/hour.
[cnn.com] – This startup wants to turn Dubai’s desert into farmland
[desertcontrol.com] – Company site
[bbc.com] – The innovation turning desert sand into farmland
[climatecolab.org] – Transforming Deserts into Fertile Farmland using Liquid NanoClay