Alkesh Sharma / Emirates Business
Ushering in an innovative technology — ‘aqua-agro’ — that could ensure constant supply of land nutrients even to the aquatic life, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is looking forward to establish research ties with Emirates.
A high-level delegation from the leading European varsity visited UAE and held talks with various educational and research institutes in the region. Considering the presence of abundant coral reef and long coastline, the new technology could be a game changer in the long run, experts affirmed.
“We have developed a cutting-edge technology — aqua-agro and its initial outcomes are really encouraging. It is helping to achieve the full-circle-cycle where nutrients that are used or produced on land can also be recaptured in the water. We have developed a technical mechanism, where these nutrients keep leaking in the adjoining water regularly,” Anders Kiessling, Professor in Aquaculture at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, told Emirates Business.
“We are basically connecting the nutrients from the horticulture with the aquatic life like fish or shrimps. The process works vice-versa and thanks to intensive microbial activities, we can again get back the useful nutrients to the horticulture, thereby achieving a full-circle,” pointed out Kiessling.
This model could be implemented even under controlled conditions like in laboratories and could significantly help increasing the fish output.
According to a report by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), per capita fish consumption across the GCC is estimated at 10-kg per year. However, UAE leads regional per capita consumption rankings at 24-kg per year, even 5-kg higher than the global average.
Kiessling was recently in Abu Dhabi to participate in the Global Form for Innovation in Agriculture (GFIA), where he was invited as distinguished hosted scientist. He also held a meeting with various stakeholders in the Emirates to explore the existing opportunities.
“UAE has a rich wealth of aquatic life and there is a plethora of opportunities. We want to collaborate with education and research institutes. We have already held some discussions but they are only at rudimentary level so it is not the right time to make a disclosure. Collaboration at education level could be a natural step if UAE wants to implement similar model in its corridors,” he pointed out.
“This is purely a model of knowledge sharing. We are not at all interested in selling a commodity and buy. I am actually interested in how to develop a futuristic technology through an innovative platform,” stated Kiessling.
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is running various global programmes under which it is looking forward to join hands with UAE.
One is ‘Global Challenge University Alliance Network’, where varsities from around the world are collaborating to find out solutions to global challenges and agriculture is one of the important components of it.