NEWS Costa Is Now Serving Food From A Sci-​​Fi Desert Farm

For the orig­i­nal piece in Forbes, click here.

Jan­u­ary 17, 2020

by: Emanuela Bar­bi­roglio

Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises ships call­ing at Aqaba, Jor­dan, are offer­ing their guests climate-​​friendly veg­eta­bles from an inno­v­a­tive farm out­side the city. The new part­ner­ship brings together the Costa Group and the Nor­we­gian non-​​profit Sahara For­est Project Foundation.

The ini­tia­tive will deliver veg­eta­bles to a total of 14 incom­ing ships dur­ing the sea­son from March to October.

With 28 ships and over 85,000 berths among the dif­fer­ent brands, the lead­ing cruise com­pany in Europe and China wants to cre­ate a trend through this project.

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We believe that through this project we offer the chance to repli­cate the same approach in places and com­mu­ni­ties where the appli­ca­tion of these cutting-​​edge tech­nolo­gies will rep­re­sent a step for­ward into their life,” Davide Tri­acca, sec­re­tary gen­eral of the Costa Crociere Foun­da­tion, told Forbes​.com.

We also see the tremen­dous poten­tial of mak­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of guests on board Costa and Aida ships aware of key top­ics. Lastly, on a global scale the impact will be mul­ti­plied as usu­ally other play­ers in the cruise indus­try fol­low Costa’s lead­er­ship example.”

Accord­ing to Costa, it ‘s not easy to scout inno­v­a­tive and sus­tain­able projects that can be applic­a­ble in a real­is­tic time-​​frame and that can pro­vide a con­crete value to the peo­ple and the environment.

We acknowl­edge that inno­va­tion is not (only) an intro­spec­tive process and that’s why the Foun­da­tion is always open to effec­tive, sound project pro­pos­als from non-​​profit orga­ni­za­tions and start-​​ups in var­i­ous fields,” Tri­acca added. “We don’t have any geo­graph­i­cal bound­ary as we will sup­port projects that can bring ben­e­fits to the com­mu­ni­ties and the environment.”

Pro­fes­sor Dan Kam­men, direc­tor of the Renew­able and Appro­pri­ate Energy Lab­o­ra­tory (RAEL) at the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia Berke­ley, wel­comed the part­ner­ship recently pre­sented at COP.

The Sahara For­est Project planet in Jor­dan is an excep­tion­ally promis­ing exam­ple of true out-​​of-​​the-​​box think­ing about the clean-​​energy-​​food-​​water pos­si­bil­i­ties,” Kam­men told Forbes​.com.

By lever­ag­ing low-​​cost renew­ables, this effort demon­strates that the ben­e­fits of clean energy can lever­age dra­matic shirts to a sus­tain­able future where added food and water access is brought to life.”

Accord­ing to FAO, the global demand for food, water and energy is expected to increase by about 40 to 50% by 2030. “Dou­bling food pro­duc­tion by 2030 will not come from putting more fer­tile land into pro­duc­tion but mainly from sus­tain­ably inten­si­fy­ing pro­duc­tion – that is, get­ting more from agri­cul­tural lands already in use – and from using mar­ginal lands, such as dry­lands,” said FAO nat­ural resources offi­cer Alessan­dro Flammini.

Due to the war in Syria, how­ever, there has been issues and delays to the roll-​​out and upscal­ing. Key logis­tic routes to mar­kets have been closed and some stake­hold­ers had to change their agendas.

Another chal­lenge has been estab­lish­ing a salt­wa­ter pipeline from the Red Sea to the farm’s site, but the com­pany is cur­rently work­ing with Jor­dan­ian offi­cials to make some devel­op­ment in this sense.

As we under­stand it, there has been imple­men­ta­tion chal­lenges and delays, but we should all hope that they over­come those,” the direc­tor of Norway’s Inter­na­tional Cli­mate and For­est Ini­tia­tive (NICFI) Per Fredrik Pharo com­mented. “The Sahara For­est Project showed great promise. Clearly, its cir­cu­lar nature and abil­ity to uti­lize non-​​fertile lands for food pro­duc­tion and employ­ment could be a breakthrough.”

Inau­gu­rated under the patron­age of King Abdul­lah II of Jor­dan and Prince Haakon of Nor­way in 2017, the Sahara For­est Project uses salt­wa­ter and sun­light to har­vest prod­ucts. It aims at green­ing desert areas and cre­at­ing local jobs through pro­duc­tion of food, fresh­wa­ter and clean energy.

The ongo­ing long-​​term agree­ment for sup­ply of veg­eta­bles to Costa and AIDA ships can pave the way for an expan­sion of our project in Jor­dan, while rais­ing inter­na­tional aware­ness for the need to scale-​​up inno­v­a­tive solu­tions to com­bat global warm­ing and cre­ate local jobs in desert areas,” said Mr. Stake, man­ag­ing direc­tor of the Sahara For­est Project.

It is urgent to prove that it is pos­si­ble to shift away from cur­rent agri­cul­tural prac­tices tra­di­tion­ally using 80% of scarce fresh­wa­ter resources and con­tribut­ing with 25% of CO2 emis­sions in many dry coun­tries and scale up con­cepts that are good for the envi­ron­ment, social devel­op­ment and business.”

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