The Desert Agriculture Initiative
Developing a sustainable agricultural system to feed a still-growing human population on a warming Earth demands the development of an approach to agriculture that simultaneously optimizes biological productivity and minimizes water and energy consumption, nutrient inputs, environmental impact and cost. The Desert Agriculture Initiative brings together biologists with interests ranging from the basic physiology, genetics/genomics, epigenetics, plant-microbe interactions and applied research in crop improvement. The Desert Agriculture Initiative seeks to tackle the wider suite of difficult challenges posed by agriculture in a desert environment under hot climate and poor fresh water conditions by bringing together a variety of skills and expertise both within and beyond KAUST. The Desert Agriculture Initiative includes collaborative efforts among KAUST centers, as well as with researchers at other universities, research organizations and companies. The Desert Agriculture Initiative’s objectives aim to restore and extend food production systems on arid otherwise unproductive land. The Desert Agriculture Initiative includes an applied experimental facility of closed growth chambers, greenhouses, and an experimental farm that will support research, training, and agricultural business development.