During its participation in Qatar Expo 2023, as part of the pavilion activities of the General Secretariat of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the Arabian Gulf University (AGU) presented details of the success of its partial irrigation project for date palm trees with complete transition to a smart irrigation system in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
The project, which the College of Graduate Studies (CGS) worked on for two years, was a model for successful cooperation between multiple stakeholders and full coordination between parties under the wise leadership of Shaikha Maram bint Isa Al Khalifa, Secretary General of the National Initiative for Agricultural Development (NIAD), and continuous support from senior management and auxiliary departments to overcome the usual obstacles that face practical field applications.
Dr Abdelhadi Abdelwahab, Professor of Sultan Qaboos Chair for Desert Agriculture, hosted a seminar entitled “Smart Agriculture and Sustainability” demonstrating the successful experience of producing four promising quinoa varieties in soilless agriculture with complete recycling of fresh and treated water, in cooperation with the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) and NIAD.
Dr Abdelwahab, alongside his co-host Dr Laurence Behrens, Managing Director of the Dutch SFS Company, confirmed that these promising successes open new horizons for supporting food security in the region. They reviewed the fruitful cooperation between the University, the National Space Science Agency (NSSA), and the Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Agriculture, with funding and coordination from NIAD and the participation of the Dutch company SFS for Smart Agriculture to implement a two-year partial irrigation experiment for date palms. During this period, the subsoil irrigation system using stone wool was compared to a smart bubble irrigation system managed and monitored using Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.
In the same context, Dr Behrens highlighted the prospects of smart agricultural
technologies in the Gulf and Middle East region, in addition to presenting similar projects in Australia to mark tree sites using drones. During the seminar, posters were displayed explaining phases of implementing the partial irrigation project, quinoa production and the latest smart SFS technologies and achievements.
It is noteworthy that AGU’s participation in Qatar Expo 2023 through this specialised seminar aimed to raise public and expert awareness in the field of sustainable agricultural production, demonstrating the role of smart technologies in maximising the efficiency of available resources and providing smart ways to manage them, including irrigation water management, maximising the use of nutrients, and ensuring food safety while preserving resources from waste, pollution and depletion.