Fertile deserts

Featured Entry Desert Control, Norway/United Arab Emirates

The Norwegian company Desert Control has developed a process to enrich the fertility capability of desert sand.

Desertification, the permanent degradation of land that was once arable, is a significant challenge of our time. According to the European Commission’s World Atlas on Desertification, more than 25 percent the Earth’s total land surface is already degraded. Approximately 12 million hectares of fertile land perish to desertification annually, according to the United Nations. That’s 2000 football pitches worth of fertile land lost every hour! Desertification poses a long list of social, environmental and economic concerns. Among them is the loss of agricultural productivity. Desert Control has spent the last twelve years attempting to address this problem. Their vision is to stop and reverse desertification and soil degradation by spraying Liquid Natural Clay (LNC) to sand and degraded soil. The company claims that LNC can enable desert sand to retain water and nutrients within seven hours of treatment — a process which previously has taken between 7 and 12 years. LNC is chemical-free and can be sprayed onto the ground with sprinklers to spread liquid compound across the affected land, creatinga layer that is up to 60 cm deep. Sticking to each grain of sand, the LNC forms a soil structure that retains water like a sponge. This process turns degraded sand into fertile soil and is confirmed by International Center for Biosaline Agriculture to reduce water usage by up to 50 percent.