Leading scientists advocate solar greenhouses to feed growing population

Wed 08/12/2021 by Richard Wilkinson
Protrait of José Miguel Mulet, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology. Copyright: Asociación de Organizaciones de Productores de Frutas y Hortalizas de Andalucía (APROA).
José Miguel Mulet, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, presentating at the 2nd Inversolar Congress, in Spain.

Last week’s 2nd Inversolar Congress offered two days of interesting and constructive presentations in which solar greenhouses were confirmed as the most sustainable and efficient agricultural model available and the one with greatest potential to feed a growing population.

Simona Caselli, president of the Assembly of the European Horticultural Regions (AREFLH) said:

“We are facing the important challenge of feeding more than 10 billion people in 2050 and we have to do so in an environment where there is less and less arable land and where protection and respect for the environment is a priority. To achieve this challenge without precedent in history, we must make use of science, technology, innovation and international cooperation. Solar greenhouses are undoubtedly the best way to meet this challenge.”

The congress brought together scientists of different nationalities who advocated sheltered agriculture and dismantled the prejudices around this agricultural model. 

“Contrary to what is believed, using technology makes it possible to produce in a more efficient way, more sustainably and at more competitive prices,” said José Miguel Mulet, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology.

This idea was also supported by food populariser Anthony Warner: 

“The future of subsistence involves a balanced diet with a wide variety of quality fruits and vegetables at competitive prices. We have before us the challenge of producing more with less arable land and that requires technology, intensification and sustainability. And solar greenhouses are a good example of this.”

According to data provided by Ismahane Eluoafi, chief scientist at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), on average, greenhouses multiply soil productivity by 5 and water optimisation for crops in the air by 7. In addition, Ismahane Eluoafi said:

“they provide food security, as they can mitigate the effects of climate change, make efficient use of resources and have an important social impact, since they create jobs and maintain the auxiliary industry of agriculture.”

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