Entrepreneurs see hydroponics as farming solution in Libya

Entrepreneurs see hydroponics as farming solution in Libya

Under a yellow tarpaulin stretched over an arched metal frame, Siraj Bechiya and his partner inspect their hydroponically-grown lettuce, pioneers of the method in mostly-desert Libya where conventional agriculture struggles.

Zip ties, punctured plastic cups as pots, and PVC tubing bought in DIY shops hold the precious crops at “Green Paradise” — so dubbed by the two young Libyan entrepreneurs spearheading the project. But the ad hoc nature of the materials hasn’t stopped the plants from thriving, their long white roots nourished by water rich with nutrients and oxygen.

Bechiya and his partner, Mounir, have been working tirelessly on their project for months in the small town of Qouwea, 40 kilometers east of the capital Tripoli, erecting a tunnel-shaped greenhouse surrounded by breeze-block walls on a semi-arid site. Their hope is to demystify hydroponic farming, which “guarantees a good yield in small spaces”, uses little water and doesn’t need pesticides, 20-year-old Bechiya said. 

“With more space in the greenhouse, the idea was able to take off. We will continue to develop it, and improve quality,” said Bechiya, as he measured the acidity of the water feeding his young lettuce. “Libyan consumers don’t want produce full of pesticides anymore, but organic produce,” he added.

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