At a farm in Ras Al Khaimah, new technology is making the most of a ubiquitous material – sand. It has helped to transform the desert grounds into 4,800-square-foot arable land to plant vegetables and fruits. About 800 fig trees that were planted inside a greenhouse in December, are already bearing fruit. Earlier, the trees had to be watered every day for five minutes.
However, with the "breathable sand" or Rechsand technology, the trees only need to be watered once in two days for two to three minutes. “The water consumption of the farm has been reduced by 80 percent,” said Chandra Dake, founder of Dake Group in South Africa. In a nearby 100-square-meter area, about 900 plants produce tomatoes with the same technique. Besides water retention, Rechsand has another special characteristic, it allows air to pass through it.
Rechsand enhances air circulation around the roots while retaining water. The product was first patented in 2010 by the Rechsand Technology Group in China. Mr. Dake, who moved from South Africa to the UAE in 2018, brought the technology to the Emirates after a collaboration with a Chinese company. The goal was to help turn the desert into lush green cover.
“Every plant requires a small quantity of Rechsand,” the Indian businessman said. “Only one-centimeter deep sand needs to be spread at the bottom of the plant. It is then topped with regular desert sand, compost and nutrients. For one ton, you can convert a whole acre of land and plant 300 to 400 trees.
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