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Project to combine saltwater, solar energy to vegetate arid Aqaba lands

By JT - Mar 03,2020 - Last updated at Mar 03,2020

AMMAN — On Monday, an agreement was signed in Amman between the Sahara Forest project and the Aqaba Development Corporation, the development branch of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA), in the presence of ASEZA Chief Commissioner Naif Bakhit and Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen.

The agreement includes transferring Red Sea water to the Sahara Forest Project in Aqaba, with the aim of expanding the production of vegetables in an environmentally friendly manner, restoring vegetation in the region and creating environment-related jobs.

According to the agreement, the project, located 12 kilometres from the centre of Aqaba, will use saltwater, sunlight, biomass and clean energy to grow vegetables on previously arid land, The Jordan News Agency Petra, reported. 

The project intends to expand its coverage from 200,000 square metres in its first stage to 300,000 square metres in its second stage.

Eriksen described the agreement as a “very important step”.  Discussing the Norwegian government’s decision to continue supporting the Sahara Forest Project, she stressed Jordan’s need for more water and highlighted that this project will utilise saltwater and solar energy instead of fresh water to create sustainable agriculture in Jordan.  

The Sahara Forest Project is a Norwegian institution established in Aqaba in 2010 to enable sustainable and profitable innovation and promote the use of environmental technologies in the food, water and energy sectors.

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