By Jassar Al Tahat – Mar 02,2019

AMMAN — The Sahara Forest Project (SFP), Bellona Foundation and Ernst & Young (EY) signed a new partnership agreement during the London initiative to boost climate-smart food production and a desert greening project in Jordan using sunlight and seawater.

“We are proud to be invited to this important high-level conference in London in order to launch a new milestone agreement for the SFP operations in Aqaba, Jordan”, Frederic Hauge, founder of the Sahara Forest Project, said in statements made available to The Jordan Times.

The SFP was founded on the idea that deserts can once again be lush and green. “Everything we do on the ground in Jordan is measured against three goals. Our activities need to be good for people, they need to be good for the environment and, with this new EY collaboration, we take a giant step in making our activities good for businesses,” Hauge concluded.

Encouraged by both local and national stakeholders in Jordan, as well as the international community, the new agreement with EY represents the next step in the commercialisation and development of the current 3 hectare water-energy-food-producing demonstration facility close to Aqaba airport, according to the statement.

Audun Halvorsen, state secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “The SFP demonstrates a unique model for sustainable production of food, water and energy in the desert, which we hope will inspire other initiatives and create new opportunities for Jordan. This innovative project benefits climate, people and businesses. Norway remains committed to continue its support to the project by providing approximately $1 million for the period 2018-2020.”

The SFP uses sun, saltwater, desert areas and CO2 to produce food, freshwater, biomass and clean energy to produce up to 130,000kg of vegetables per year, 10,000 litres of fresh water per day from desalination and solar power from photovoltaic panels.

Kjetil Stake, managing director of the SFP, in statements sent to The Jordan Times said: “Jordan is a perfect match for SFP as it has optimal solar conditions and an abundance of saltwater and arid land. At the same time, there is a large pool of talented and ambitious people who meet us with warm and investment friendly hospitality, eager to create economic growth for their local communities.”

The SFP’s launch station in Aqaba was inaugurated under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, on September 7, 2017.