GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Controlled Environment Agriculture in the GCC Countries
Paper Proposal Text :
Controlled Environment Agricultural (CEA) structures, such as greenhouses and screenhouses minimize heat stress and evapotranspiration demand of crops. They also provide protection from pests and diseases. These benefits have led to an increase in the number of greenhouses and screenhouses in the six Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) Countries; Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates, which characterized as arid countries affected by seawater intrusion. The temperature inside CEA structures, in the GCC countries, varies during winter and summer times. Low temperature in winter may requires no need of using forced cooling systems but screenhouses with insect proof screen cover can be used instead as a 100% naturally ventilation structures. On other hand, late spring and summer times involves too much incoming solar radiation, which becomes detrimental for the crop growth, requiring the use of forced cooling, mainly fan and pad, systems inside plastic covered greenhouse. The forced cooling system involves consumption of energy and scarce water which is already used for irrigation purposes. Therefore, alternative Controlled Environment Agricultural structures including alternative cooling mechanisms for arid countries, like the GCC, should be used to improve environmental sustainability and profitability. That can be achieved by maintaining optimal growth conditions throughout the year by regulating the intensity of incoming solar radiation, controlling inside relative humidity and air temperature, optimizing pest management, and improving the water use efficiency through changing the ventilation schemes and implementing hydroponic systems. All GCC countries are aware of such need for improving the CEA systems; hence, different experiments have been conducted in each of the six countries tackling this issue. Good achievements have been made through these experiments like hydroponics technology under CEA. Further research and experiments, however, are recommended to be conducted especially in the field of CEA’s design and structures. This paper covers selected case studies from different GCC countries like using seawater greenhouse in Oman, using local materials instead of imported ones in greenhouse production in Saudi Arabia, using hydroponic systems in a Quonset greenhouse type in Kuwait and in a multi-span Arch type in UAE, and comparing the performance of screenhouse versus greenhouse structures in Oman.