Dake Rechsand, the Dubai-based company specializing in sustainable solutions for water conservation and desert farming, made its mark at the inaugural Food for Future Summit on February 23rd and 24th. Hosted by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) as a strategic partner, the summit ushered in a new era of multistakeholder participation for global food security.
Dake Rechsand’s Breathable Sand — also known as “magic sand” due to its transformative potential — has been making waves in the Middle East and beyond ever since its launch, thanks to its ability to make instant, demonstrable impact. The attendees at the Food for Future Summit were treated to the “magic”, through illustrative demonstrations involving water, soil, and the Breathable Sand.
“Be it climate actions, or food security, or sustainability, the current situation is such that there is a pressing need to walk the talk; not just talk the talk. The world is nearing a tipping point on climate change, and food and water are becoming scarcer by the day. This scenario is more pronounced in the Middle East, which has — what I like to call — pre-existing conditions that make countermeasures a tall order. Dake Rechsand is striving to address such conditions and simplify food security and sustainability pursuits,” said Chandra Dake, Founder of Dake Rechsand.
The Gulf Sustainability Gold Award Winner 2021 for Innovation in Sustainable Technologies, Dake Rechsand has rooted its solutions in technology, holistic sustainability, and environmentally responsible processes. Its Breathable Sand is a low-cost, water-retentive and air-permeable medium made from typical desert sand. In agricultural application, the water-retentive medium reduces irrigation requirement by 80% compared to conventional techniques while enabling high yield due to its air permeability. As a result, Breathable Sand has found application in desert farming — a practice that could potentially drive the region’s food security.
Rationalizing why low-input desert farming can work wonders for food security, Chandra Dake said, “The UAE is 80% desert, with expansive barren lands, where productivity is low and conventional agriculture is not feasible. With Breathable Sand’s ability to retain water, preserve fertilizers, and produce a high yield in desert conditions, we can make barren lands arable. This also has implications for ecological improvement and emission reduction, as nations across the region have a high dependence on carbon-intensive desalination plants. The best part is that Dake Rechsand is already doing it. So, now it’s just a matter of scale.”
The Food for Future Summit also witnessed the launch of the “Food for Life” campaign, which seeks to raise awareness about how sustainability is tied to a healthy diet, through outreach programmes and events. A joint venture from Emirates Nature-WWF, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, and the FAO, “Food for Life” typifies the multistakeholder action required to achieve sustainable food security.
Another notable development was the launch of “FoodWise Challenge”, a campaign by Goumbook, a leading social enterprise in the region. The campaign aims to instil sustainability and healthy food choices at schools and universities. Goumbook intends to engage students and bring diversified ideas and solutions to the table while chasing the shared goal of a food secure Middle East. Such grassroots campaigns by private entities and apex bodies, combined with ground-breaking solutions by innovators like Dake Rechsand and action-oriented conclaves like Food for Future Summit, attest to the UAE’s steadfast commitment to the food and sustainability cause.
“My felicitations to the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment for hosting a historic summit, which saw world leaders, people from rural-agrarian communities, and innovators from nations like Sweden and Israel in attendance. Such a turnout speaks volumes about the Ministry’s outreach efforts and inclusive attitude — both paramount to achieve food security,” added Chandra Dake.