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Rice in the Desert: Pandemic Spurs UAE to Grow More Food

  • The country imports as much as 90% of the food it consumes
  • UAE owns farms in more than 60 countries, may invest in others
Rice Harvest And Processing As West Africa's Appetite For Rice Grows
Photographer: Xaume Olleros/Bloomberg
Updated on

The United Arab Emirates doesn’t spring to mind as an obvious place to farm rice, but the coronavirus is prodding the arid nation to explore new ways of feeding itself.

In a pilot project with South Korea’s Rural Development Administration, the UAE last month harvested around 1,700 kilograms (two tons) of rice in the emirate of Sharjah. The partners planted Asemi rice, a popular variety in East Asia, because it can withstand heat and salty soils. An underground irrigation system that drips water instead of spraying it was crucial to the project’s success.