Some of the earliest examples of what we’d now consider to be modern society can be found in modern day Syria, Iraq and Jordan. It was known then as Mesopotamia and displays some of the earliest evidence of humans coming together in small farming communities to pool resources and labour, creating what we might now think of as money.
Farming in the desert is nothing new, but in the age of industrial scale agriculture worth billions it doesn’t quite fit into our idea of the ideal farming climate. Sandy and dry ground doesn’t tend to lend itself well to lush green produce, but with environmental issues coming to the fore since the turn of the century things are beginning to change.
It’s counter-intuitive to think of farming anything in a place where there’s very little water, and even less so where cactuses can barely survive, but it may well be the future. Irrigation technology previously simply wouldn’t have allowed desert farming but this may well not be the case in a few years.
There’s also something a little science fiction thinking about vast swathes of artificially grown produce sat somewhere in the middle of the baron desert, and in fact there’s something a bit Bond villain about the whole thing.
Futuristic apocalyptic imagery aside, it’s not all as logistically difficult as it would seem when you start to take advantage of the landscape around you and use the resources intelligently.
Why does this affect the confectionary industry? I hear you ask. As climate change accelerates there will be an escalating struggle for resources and agriculture production, with the most innovative winning the war. Whilst we might normally consider resources to mean things like oil and natural gas, increasingly water is a resource that’s going to become more and more valuable.
Desert farming in 2020
How could it even be possible to grow green luscious plants in the middle of the desert then? How could desert farming even be a thing?
In a BBC article from last year they explain that in Jordan, 50% of all available water in the country is taken up by farming and agriculture and as the second worst country in the world for water scarcity this isn’t something they see as sustainable.
This is where they and Israel are now leading the way, however, in humungous green houses that are using sea water to grow their crops. Jordan has almost more sunshine per year than any other country on the planet, and they’re using solar energy to desalinate (remove the salt) the water before irrigating their plants.
In these particular farms they’re more or less able to grow whatever they want. Be that sugar, cocoa, or other ingredients used in the production of candy. This could be a massively positive change in the industry as more competition and less monopoly over the ingredients of the products should drive prices down and mean they’re cheaper to import.
Countries that have desert farming are generally looking to increase these types of exports and so it makes sense for their governments to subsidise competitive pricing to make them competitive. All in all, the technology now available means that we’re likely to see much more desert farming in the future and we should treat it as hugely positive.