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Cruise company, Sahara Forest Project join hands for revegetation of desert areas

By JT - Aug 15,2019 - Last updated at Aug 15,2019

The Sahara Forest Project is located 12 kilometres north of the port of Aqaba and combines saltwater-cooled greenhouses, solar energy panels and different techniques for outdoor revegetation in dry areas (Photo courtesy of Sahara Forest Project Facebook page)

AMMAN — Costa Group, through its Costa Crociere Foundation, signed an agreement with the Sahara Forest Project Foundation to join forces to revegetate the desert in Jordan with sustainable technologies, according to a joint statement.

Guests onboard Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises ships calling at Aqaba will be able to taste vegetables produced using saltwater and solar power in the desert.

The mission of the Sahara Forest Project, which was inaugurated under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway in September 2017, is to green desert areas and to create local green jobs through production of food, freshwater and clean energy, using saltwater and sunlight as the main input factors, read the statement.

The support from Costa Group through its two brands Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises will allow to “scale up the project to 20 hectares of commercial facility”, according to the statement.

“The Sahara Forest Project is very proud to join forces with a global leader within the tourism industry. The new long-term agreement for the supply of vegetables to Costa and AIDA ships will pave the way for an expansion of our project in Jordan, while raising international awareness of the need to scale up innovative solutions to combat global warming and create local jobs in desert areas,” Lars Myren, chairman of the Sahara Forest Project Foundation, was quoted saying.

“By supporting the Sahara Forest Project, we serve our guests vegetables grown in a way that fights the spread of deserts and creates a sound livelihood for the local population, in line with our sustainable development strategy and our concrete commitment to creating a greener planet,” Michael Thamm, Group CEO Costa Group and Carnival Asia, was quoted in the statement as saying.

The Sahara Forest Project Foundation is a Norwegian non-profit established to enable sustainable and profitable innovation and deployment of environmental technologies within the food, water and energy sectors. 

Currently, it operates a  three-hectare commercial size facility 12 kilometres north of the port of Aqaba, combining saltwater-cooled greenhouses, solar energy panels and different techniques for outdoor revegetation in dry areas, according to the statement. The governments of Jordan and Norway, the EU Commission and USAID funded the facility.

While the cruise industry is predicted to grow and while nations strive to reduce their CO2 emissions, the maritime industry is finding itself under growing scrutiny for environmental concerns, Forbes reported this April. 

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