The United Arab Emirates, most of which is desert, is afraid of starving.
In an unstable geopolitical context, the Emirates, so popular with the international jet-set, imports 90% of its food; the Covid-19 crisis, blocking both the economy and its international airport, raised fears of the longer-term risks of isolation for this desert confetti.
The answer was quickin all UAE area: a plan to revive agriculture that the USSR would not have denied, but doped with high-tech (aquaponics, powerful fertilizers, etc.). The Emirates are summoning the latest international technology (and imported labor) to make the desert green. Even if it means playing against nature. From growing rice in the desert to importing dairy cows and researching how to make food in space and other extreme climates or raising Norwegian salmon at 45 degrees.
“Realistically, we’re looking at maybe increasing our domestic production going toward 30%-40% in the next 10 years,” Mariam Almheiri, the minister of state for food and water security, said.