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Growing Barley in the Desert

When considering the need to develop agriculture in the world, to grow food for animals or people, the Sahara Desert is certainly not the first location that comes to mind. But it’s precisely here that such an activity is perhaps the most necessary.

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has sought to tackle this issue by setting up fodder production units in the Sahrawi refugee camps in Tindouf, southwestern Algeria. These units rely on hydroponic agriculture, which means the plants are grown on a material that’s naturally inert, such as sand. The technique requires no fertilizer and enables the production of fresh fodder for animals in desert regions or areas where the soil quality is too low for agriculture. Only water is needed.