Every time Lebanon experiences a crisis related to the high prices of crops – the latest being a staggering rise in the prices of onions – voices that speak of the need to return to agriculture and ensure self-sufficiency return to the fore once again. But how can city and village residents practice farming in the face of declining agricultural areas?
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the percentage of agricultural land in Lebanon is about 65% of its total area, but only 22% of this area is utilized and cultivated. The problem lies in agricultural ownership, as 1% of the landowners own a quarter of the agricultural land, and in recent years they have resorted to abandoning or selling their land to investors due to the difficulties of working on it, leading to a decrease in cultivated areas.
In the face of this dilemma, one Lebanese engineer, Ziad Abi Chaker, found the solution in vertical farming, a technique that allows for the cultivation of the largest possible amount of crops in a small area, allowing for the optimal use of space and providing individuals with the opportunity to plant and strive towards self-sufficiency, as well as economic profit and benefit.
Since 2017, Abi Chaker has worked on developing his invention, in which plastic bags are transformed into plastic panels. Then containers are created out of these panels that are placed on the roof of buildings or within narrow agricultural lands. Inside these containers, vegetables are planted in an organized manner, producing abundant crops.
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