Wissal Ben Moussa is the proud co-founder and chief agricultural officer of Sand to Green, a Moroccan startup that can transform a patch of desert into a sustainable and profitable plantation in just five years.
The company’s innovative irrigation solution is based on three pillars:
Desalination: Desalination of sea water and brackish water is used for the irrigation of plantations. Thanks to a reverse osmosis technique and desalination units, fresh water is produced with minimised environmental impact and optimised costs.
A drip system: An irrigation technique that brings the water necessary for plant growth directly to the root system. Evaporation and water loss are minimised, reducing overall water consumption by 30 to 50%.
A hydro-shrinker: The use of water is maximised thanks to a natural hydro-retainer, the biochar, capable of increasing the quality of soils, storing carbon but also retaining water in order to avoid its runoff. The water retention capacity of arid soils is therefore enhanced.
All of these systems help arid soils retain water, allowing certain herbs to be ready for harvest after just two years.
Says Sand to Green: “Our innovative and regenerative agroforestry model offers a sustainable solution to the challenges of advancing deserts, land degradation, food security and pressure on primary forests.”