Rice In UAE Desert – Terraplus Solutions Announces Successful Trials

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Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Agritech firm Terraplus Solutions has completed successful trials of open-air rice production in the United Arab Emirates, and for the first time the staple crop has been grown economically and sustainably in the country. The news comes on the eve of the ‘Food for Future Summit’ in Dubai.

The results of the trials are a big step forward for the possibility of rice being grown in the UAE, as they indicate that rice can be produced domestically for a cheaper price than import. This is a key discovery that could benefit the UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051, which outlines rice as a core food item.

Speaking about the successful trial results Patrick Stevens, Managing Director and co-founder of Terraplus Solutions said, “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 subsidized price for an imported tonne of rice in the UAE is approximately $817. The country has imported more than 900,000 tonnes of rice over the past 12 months.

The trials targeted production of rice to be grown for $817 per tonne or cheaper across a sample farm in Dhaid, Sharjah. The homegrown UAE business factored in all known rice production costs including labour, seeds, fertilizer and water. The latter resource is the most important dynamic given the scarcity of water in the UAE. The team deployed the T+ system, a revolutionary subsurface irrigation method developed by Terraplus Solutions, 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 litres of water per kilogram. Instead, the result of using Terraplus Solutions’ T+ system provided a water saving of more than 99 percent to just 0.9 litres per kilogram of rice produced.

Stevens continued, “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 sector. 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.

Terraplus Solutions

Terraplus Solutions (a subsidiary of CNNB Solutions) was established by co-founders Nicolas Bruylants and Patrick Stevens, to address the challenges of water preservation and irrigation in desert agriculture. In 2020, the business received the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation in the category of Pioneering and Sophisticated Innovations Serving the Agricultural Sector, for its groundbreaking subsurface technology, the Terraplus tube (T+) system. The technology has been successfully implemented at the Al Nakhli-managed farm in Al Aweer, demonstrating its ability to save more than 50,000 litres of water per date palm per year – greater than a 50 percent water saving. The team has also completed promising trials of rice production in the UAE, achieving economically viable and sustainable results. Terraplus Solutions supports the region’s strategic visions to strengthen water and food security, with an overall vision to help save a trillion litres of water in the agriculture sector per year.