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Qatar, Norway celebrate opening of water-saving greenhouse project

Today, Qatar's first water saving greenhouse pilot project was officially launched as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of industrial cooperation between Norway and Qatar. Attending the ceremony were Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Torbjorn Roe Isaksen, Norway's Minister of Trade and Industry, the chief executive officers of Hassad and technology partner Yara along with other Norwegian and Qatari officials.

The greenhouse was engineered by Yara International ASA (Norway) and developed in collaboration with Hassad Food, Qatar Fertiliser Company (Qafco), Wageningen University and executed in partnership with Trane Qatar, Jiffy, Hoogendoorn and MST Holland, the Gulf Times reports.

Reducing water use by 90%
In a speech following the opening ceremony, Crown Prince Haakon called the greenhouse project an impressive example of technology-sharing. "This joint Norwegian-Qatari enterprise aims to combat the challenge of falling groundwater levels. The pilot greenhouse technology will reduce the amount of water required for growing vegetables by 90 %. It will contribute to water resource management and sustainable food production."

Reusing 'plant sweat'
The climate in the greenhouse is regulated by the air conditioning system and completely independent of the outside weather. The closed cycle of air re-circulation allows recovery of water from evapotranspiration of the plants through dehumidification. Recovered water then will be re-used for irrigation of the plants, according to the Gulf Times report. The water saving pilot greenhouse has 400 tomato plants and the new technology will be implemented in more farms if it is proven a success.

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