Today we visited a fascinating project in the middle of the Qatar desert. It is a flower and vegetable production facility called Roza Hassad, which held an open day today. It is about 30km west of Doha, which makes it about 1/3 of the way across the country, and well and truly in the desert.
Inside the greenhouses of Roza Hassad, which span over 55,000 square metres, it’s a far cry from the hot and rocky scenery outside. A very precise computer-managed regulation system adjusts the humidity and lighting levels every 30 seconds in each of the 16 greenhouses, recreating a tropical climate or the colder temperatures of the Netherlands, depending on the flowers.
The seeds are planted in bedrock made of coconut residue or volcanic rock and receive water drawn from 100 metres deep, desalted, then charged with nutritious elements needed for their growth. Roza Hassad is a public company founded to cut down on the emirate’s flower imports.
We were treated to a guided tour led by the charming Jean-Pierre Moreau, the general manager of the facility. With his delightful French accent he showed us the desalination equipment, and proudly demonstrated the “green” initiatives they are using to make the site sustainable and free of pesticides. We saw greenhouses lush with Roses, Gerberas, Chrysanthemums, and the biggest Anthuriums I’ve ever seen.
It was lovely to be surrounded by flowers, and encouraging to see the progressive initiatives in ecological sustainability in the desert. Here are a few photos to give a small taste.