Amidst water scarcity and diminishing arable land, some individuals in Egypt are transitioning to soilless farming. However, experts caution that the high initial costs and certain crop limitations may impede widespread adoption in the African nation.
Soilless agriculture, also known as hydroponics, involves cultivating plants using nutrient-rich water outside the traditional soil, typically within controlled greenhouses. 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.
A 2020 WWF report revealed that hydroponics utilizes only 10 percent of the resources required for traditional cultivation, contributing to reduced deforestation and minimized pesticide use.Plug’n’Grow is among several agritech enterprises that have emerged in Egypt, promoting this form of agriculture in recent years.
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.