UAE agritech startup Terraplus launches T+ irrigation system to save water

By Arya M Nair, Intern Reporter
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Date Palms
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Terraplus Solutions, a UAE-based startup providing solutions to optimize water management in agriculture, forestry and parks, has officially launched its award-winning sustainable agritech irrigation system, known as T+, after highly successful trials on date palms in Dubai.

The technology is anticipated to save a trillion liters of water per year if deployed throughout 20,000 farms in the UAE which has 20 to 40 million date palms. This is equal to the annual water consumption of five million people, or nearly half of the UAE’s population.

When compared to traditional systems, the T+ system saves between 40,000 and 50,000 liters of water per date palm per year, according to the results of testing. In addition, date palms offer bigger yields and higher quality fruits. Furthermore, each date palm’s root zone has increased by 40 to 50 percent, resulting in healthier roots and stronger trees.

Terraplus Solutions’ co-founder and Managing Partner, Mr. Patrick Stevens said, “There is tremendous potential for the T+ system to help the UAE reduce its agricultural water consumption. The UAE is the fourth-largest producer of dates in the world and accounts for around 12 percent of global production, but date palms also require a lot of water. Through T+ we aim to help the UAE towards its Food and Water Security goals and save a trillion liters of water every year.”

Since April 2019, Al-Awir Date Farm has been conducting tests in partnership with and under the supervision of Al-Nakhli Sector, an agriclutural farm in UAE. In February 2020, by adopting the T+ technique, Al-Nakhli Sector won the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation, under the patronage of UAE’s President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Mr. Mohamed Khalifa Bin Thaleth, Operations Director at Al-Nakhli Sector said, “Our work alongside Terraplus Solutions on date palms in Dubai, has proven that vast water savings can be achieved with the right technology and we can take steps to safeguard the UAE’s water resources for generations to come.”

As the UAE National Water Security Strategy 2036 aims to reduce total demand for water by 21 percent, T+ could have a significant impact in protecting valuable water resources. This is highly necessary, as estimates from the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi suggest that the rate of groundwater extraction is 18 to 20 times the natural rate of recharge.

Agriculture consumes a large portion of the UAE’s annual water supply, with vast amounts lost due to improper crop watering. Date palms are traditionally irrigated via flood irrigation, which uses surface bubbler systems to drip water around the base of the tree.

Terraplus Solutions was co-founded by two Belgian entrepreneurs, Mr. Patrick Stevens and Mr. Nicolas Bruylants in 2018. The team has expanded its research and finessed the T+ system to be highly efficient, easily installed and low-cost. The system takes only two months to pay back the initial cost of installation. The development progress also included expanding the lifespan of the system to 10 or more years

Related: UAE’s SRTI recommends aquaponics to boost food security across the country


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