UAEU signs MoU with CAFU to plant Ghaf tree seeds in dunes

ALAIN, The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) has signed a partnership MoU with CAFU, a leading company in technology services, has to conduct in-depth research on the successful cultivation and plantation of Ghaf tree seeds in harsh climatic areas such as the desert environment in the UAE.

This research is the first-of-its-kind to be conducted and represents the second phase of the CAFU Ghaf tree seeds cultivation programme, which aims to plant one million seeds to help confront climate change.

The study will build on existing research and development that has already been implemented to help improve and create a self-sustaining seed capable of sustaining nature in hot summer temperatures, in addition to increasing the viability of seeds for growth, plantation, and water retention.

The results of the research will also strengthen the country’s knowledge bank on promoting desert cultivation across a range of desert plant species.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Bhanu Chowdhury, Dean of the College of Food and Agriculture at the university, and Rashid Al Ghurair, founder and CEO of CAFU.

The MoU will allow cooperation in the academic research, transfer of available technology and modern agricultural techniques to build capacity for companies, in addition to contributing to the development of the next generation of agricultural technology that achieves sustainability and enhance students’ practical skills and training.

Dr. Al Yafei said, “The Ghaf Tree Project is an ambitious initiative to revive arid ecosystems by planting millions of such trees, which are an indigenous species that grow here. Ghaf (its scientific name is Prosopis cineraria) is the national tree. It is a strong drought-tolerant tree that improves the quality of the soil in which it is grown and the air around it. The roots grow up to 80 metres, and each tree absorbs up to 34.65 kg of harmful carbon dioxide daily, to be released later in the form of oxygen. It also provides an important habitat and food source for a variety of animals and birds, including desert owls and long-legged goshawks.”

Al Ghurair, in turn, said that Ghaf tree cultivation is a labour-intensive process, especially in the desert climate of the UAE, where summer temperatures often reach 45 Celsius, given the intensity of cultivation required to make a difference in the environment.

“We came up with a solution represented in the use of state-of-the-art guided aircraft technology that relies on artificial intelligence, and to provide a solution through the “Made in UAE” initiative, through which up to one million Ghaf trees will be planted,” he added.

The signing ceremony was also witnessed by Dr. Mohammed Abdul Mohsen Al Yafei, Vice Dean of the College, and Nabra Al Boosaidi, Director of Sustainability and Society Department at CAFU and the research team Dr. Shyam Corp, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, and several faculty members.

Source: Emirates News Agency