Written by Chris Rothera
After a delay to construction caused by severe weather out here in the Horn of Africa, I am happy to announce that we are back and it is now the beginning of the end of the construction phase of this Seawater Greenhouse Pilot in Somaliland. Only a few weeks remain of the construction with the netting coming up fast day by day.
Where we left off before the weather hit home
Before the weather forced us to disband for a few weeks, director of Seawater Greenhouse Ltd. Mr Charlie Paton had joined the team in Somaliland to see the progress and to provide training to the local team on the technology.
Great strides were made in the fitting out of the site, prepping of the RO system and plumbing up the entire compound. The plumbing, being a major milestone, had the same effect on the team as when the power came on for the first time. The first time the water rushed our of a recently installed tap was truly great feeling.
The importance of water
I wish to highlight this image in particular that has been the constant of the construction; bottled water. The heat and conditions in this part of the world are severe in general and the amount of water in the above image, 72 750ml bottles is the amount of water needed for five staff to remain hydrated throughout a working day on site. That is approximately 14 bottles per person. The Horn of Africa is currently suffering through one of the worst droughts seen in 30 years, and I have seen much evidence of this throughout my time in Somaliland, and heard stories of loss from many of the staff working on my site. The need of water here is so crucial, and so difficult to acquire. I truly believe that the Seawater Greenhouse has the potential and ability to help with a completely sustainable, off grid solution to agriculture. This is why everyone involved in this project, in whichever capacity, is working very hard to see this implemented and to succeed.
Since getting back
Construction began again, in full swing I might add, four days ago. The current task, the task that will take a further week or so, is to erect the shade netting of the Seawater Greenhouses. The Nursery SG is nearly now complete, with only a few sections of netting left to put up and our largest Seawater Greenhouse is next in line. It is great to have the team back in action again, and with the finish line clearly in sight, we are hitting the ground running. Each day, leaving the site at the end of a hard slog, has rewarded us with a new skyline as more and more of the greenhouses have been completed.
Planting has begun!
While my team and I are focused on finishing the the Seawater Greenhouses, Hassan, our horticultural manager, has taken the lead on planting. Our first set of tomato, cucumber, lettuce and many more crops are being seeded as I type! The green is returning to the desert my friends.