The Christian Science Monitor

Facing an even hotter, drier climate, Jordan testing desert agriculture

The Sahara Forest Project greenhouse, which yielded its first crop of cucumbers last month and aims to produce 130,000 kilograms of vegetables from the Jordanian desert each year. Source: Taylor Luck

Hope in Jordan is taking the form of a cucumber in the desert.

It is not a mirage. Some say it is the future.

In the arid southern desert of Wadi Araba, where scorching temperatures and dust devils leave scant signs of life, a team of environmental engineers is working on a solution for countries on the front lines of climate change, facing drought and rising temperatures.

The engineers say they are designing a sustainable farm that uses solar power to desalinate seawater to grow crops in regions that have been arid for centuries, then uses the irrigation runoff to afforest barren lands and fend off desertification.

Similar ventures have had success in neighboring Israel, but it remains to be seen whether a fully sustainable farm can breathe life into the Jordanian desert and offer a model to a country that cannot spare a drop of its dwindling water resources.

Jordan has struggled for decades with water resources

Sahara Forest ProjectSelf-sufficiencyNo ‘silver bullet’

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