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News Link • Agriculture

Aquaponics expert brings sustainability to the desert

•, Beenish Ahmed
 Jabber Al Mazroui peers over the edge of a massive cylinder full of tea-brown water and hundreds of tilapia fish.The 55-year-old entrepreneur manages one of the world's largest aquaponics farms.

The facility relies on a relatively new agricultural method that uses the water in which fish are bred to provide irrigation and nutrition to a wide array of plants. This process saves a lot of water – making it especially relevant in arid regions like the United Arab Emitates where Al Mazroui's 4,000 square meter farm is based.

His manmade oasis is located off of a quiet desert road about 20 minutes from Abu Dhabi's city center. Al Mazroui developed the site just last year, but he has already begun to reap the fruits of his labor.

Fruit and fish

He proudly points to the wide variety of produce that's grown inside the facility: “We even have watermelon here. It's almost ripe, but not quite yet. Otherwise we could have tried some.”
Al Mazroui also grows broccoli, lettuce, aubergine, cabbage and cucumber and he is even experimenting with a papaya tree.

“This system can produce about 1,200 lettuce heads per day,” he says. “As for tomatoes, at the moment we have only one system working out of four, and still we are harvesting between 180-220 kilograms everyday.”

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