Dubai-based Agritech firm Terraplus Solutions has successfully completed the trials of economical and sustainable open-air rice production for the first time in the United Arab Emirates.
The result indicates that rice can be produced domestically at a lower price than imports. This is an important discovery that could benefit the UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051, which describes rice as a major food item.
Speaking about the successful results, Terraplus Solutions Managing Director and Co-founder Mr. Patrick Stevens, stated that “Access to affordable and secure rice production is essential. Traditionally this has meant relying on imports, but these findings show that with the right technology the UAE can produce rice right here in its own soil at a competitive price and using a sustainable amount of water.”
The average subsidy price for an imported ton of rice in the UAE is about $817. The country has imported more than 900,000 tons of rice in the last 12 months.
The trials targeted the production of rice to be grown for $817 per ton or cheaper across a sample farm in Dhaid, Sharjah. The homegrown UAE business factored in all known rice production costs including labor, seeds, fertilizer, and water.
To overcome the water scarcity in the UAE, the team deployed the T+ system, a revolutionary subsurface irrigation method developed by Terraplus Solutions, which helps to reduce enormous amounts of water.
Before these trials, the first three weeks of rice germination from seed to a two-leaf plant would have used around 200 liters of water per kilogram. Instead, the result of using Terraplus Solutions’ T+ system provided water saving of more than 99 percent to just 0.9 liters per kilogram of rice produced.
Mr. Stevens further added that “We are delighted to support the UAE in finding cheaper and more sustainable ways to produce food domestically. We welcome the opportunity to explore these findings further with the public and private sectors. Through innovation and collaboration, the UAE can be a global leader of food production in desert climates.”
Terraplus Solutions is an award-winning agritech business that produces irrigation solutions for open-air agriculture across the Middle East. Founded by Belgium-based Mr. Patrick Stevens and Mr. Nicolas Bruylants, who came together to find a solution to the billions of cubic meters of water wasted each year due to irrigation inefficiencies.