Expo 2023 Doha Qatar, beginning today and running for 179 days, is set to be a historic event as the first A1 International Horticultural Exhibition in the Middle East and North Africa. Developed under Qatar National Vision 2030, the mega event is organised by the Ministry of Municipality. The theme “Green Desert, Better Environment”, aims to promote sustainable innovations and combat desertification.

Expo 2023 Doha will inspire visitors to participate in the transformation within four main topics: Modern agriculture, technology and innovation, environmental awareness, sustainability. The theme is meant to inspire the international community to explore and adopt innovative desertification mitigation solutions.

A collaboration between the Bureau International Des Expositions (BIE) and the International Association for Horticultural Producers (AIPH), Expo 2023 Doha is expected to attract over 3mn visitors locally and internationally, with pavilions from as many as 88 countries as well as international and regional organisations. Combining tradition and modern technology for a balanced use of resources, the event aims to create a convergence of people and ideas to accelerate innovation, research and scientific advancements in modern agriculture to produce safe, sustainable and affordable food for the increasing population of the world and reduce climate impact.

Modern agriculture focuses on four topics - Enhancing farmers’ role, bridging knowledge and technology, ensuring co-ordinated solutions and promoting permaculture. Farmers have the experience and the everyday perspective that can inform, promote and implement the solutions to fight desertification. They are the real growers of change. Academy and Industry must merge cross pollinated solutions to sustain efficient use of resources in the practice of agriculture. Exchange of information among the main stakeholders of modern agriculture requires new methods of co-ordination and co-operation. Developing and sharing information on the techniques that integrate innovation into traditional wisdom will contribute to the prevention of further desertification.

Permaculture is another symbiotic and collaborative approach that we are promoting to ensure the modern agriculture. It integrates land, resources, people and the environment through mutually beneficial synergies – imitating the no-waste, closed loop systems seen in diverse natural systems. Permaculture is a holistic approach to agricultural solutions plantable in rural and urban contexts at all levels, from industrial to domestic scales.

Technology and innovation are key drivers in the advancement of solutions for the balancing enhance farming productivity and environmental sustainability. They are also a vehicle for future green solutions, while playing an important role in changing direction in the use of fossil fuels, creating solutions for urban industrial pollution and advancing alternatives for chemical-intensive agriculture.

In Expo 2023 Doha, technology and innovation will specially focus on four topics: Hands-on experience, rainwater harvesting, alternative energy solutions, urban greenery and farming. The future grows better and more sustainable if we get the tech to the farmers. Harvested rainwater can be used for livestock and for irrigation. Rainwater collected from roofs can supplement the subsoil water level and increase urban greenery. It would be inconsistent to depend on fossil fuels in an endeavour to reverse desertification. The adoption of new systems, such as alternative energy sources and irrigation, is of the highest priority.

Cities are fertile ground for change. While urban greenery helps control air pollution, urban farming dramatically reduces the carbon footprint, not only by curbing the need for the transportation of food but also by the efficient use of space, energy, and water.

Expo 2023 Doha also aims to emphasise the reduction of food waste, the encouragement of healthy eating, support for sustainable agriculture, and a “start your own garden” programme. In urban or peripheral areas, community gardens offer an opportunity for the public to re-establish their connection with nature while contributing to erosion control, recycling, and sustainability.

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