It takes approximately 6,268 litres of water to make a juicy hamburger; 140 litres to make a morning cup of coffee; and at least 10,000 litres of water to make the perfect steak.
The world produces enough food to feed the planet, however one of the longest pandemics that’s lasted is - starvation and water shortage. And perhaps, it’s time to bring it to an end, one step at a time.
Liquid Nano Clay (LNC) is a sustainable option to curb world hunger, increase food security and quality. Food by Gulf News spoke to Ole Kristian Sivertsen, CEO of Desert Control – a Norwegian-headquartered company that is specialised in LNC – who aims to take a greener path to eradicate problems surrounding food.
“It took 12 years of research and development to bring this product to life. The concept first arose when our co-founder took a trip to Egypt and he spotted that the areas around river Nile were so fertile once upon a time. However, when the Aswan dam was built, a lot of the minerals and essential sediments got filtered out, which was the reason behind the barren environment.”
How does it work?
On an average, 12 million hectares of fertile land perish due to desertification annually, which is why desert control’s solution to this includes sampling different soils, monitoring them based on what type of clay would suit it [the soil] best, and then applying the same research on a larger area of land. The clay, in particular, is liquefied with no chemical additives, and is poured on the sand or desert.
The liquefied clay adds a fertile layer in the sand, and takes an average of seven hours for the area to turn fertile, after which farmers can plant their crops. The farmer is also not limited to the depth of how fertile they want the soil to be – they can pour it to desired depth.
“We wanted to increase food security, eradicate hunger, especially since a lot of farmers don’t eat full meals. So by addressing the biggest needs and lowering financial costs, we wanted to turn a degraded land into a fully functional carbon capturing field in less than 18 months,” said Sivertsen.
In addition to this, liquid nano clay is not limited to a large portion of land and can even be applied to a basic level such as home gardening. “The concept is simple, gravity will pull the compound down into the soil. Sticking to each grain of sand, it creates a soil structure (even in desert sand) that retains water just like a sponge. One application of liquid natural clay lasts for 3 to 5 years. Water savings take effect immediately, and the cost savings from reduced water usage will pay for the liquid natural clay…,” added Sivertsen.
According to the United Nations, the world's remaining topsoil will be gone in less than 60 years if the current pace of desertification continues. Fertile topsoil is vital for food, and a global population heading towards 10 billion will need more food in the next 40 years than was produced over the last 500 years combined.
Growing more food also requires more water, and agriculture already consumes more than 70 per cent of all available freshwater on earth. Water use, however, keeps rising due to increasing droughts, soil degradation, and desertification. And as more soil turns to sand, even more water will be needed to grow our food.
Studies conducted by International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) with Desert Control in Dubai documented up to 50 per cent water savings, improved soil health, and better crop yields as well. “We have successful projects. We grew watermelons with 17 per cent higher yields… not to mention zucchinis with 68 per cent,” said Sivertsen.
Farmers, landowners, and governments in more than 110 countries experience increasing water scarcity, loss of vital topsoil, and desertification. Combating these challenges has become a little simpler with liquid nano clay.