The Costa Group, owner of the Costa Cruceros company, has undertaken a project with the Sahara Forest Project Foundation, under the auspices of King Abdullah II of Jordan and Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, for the production of organic vegetables in Jordan.
Through this initiative, 20 hectares of greenhouses will be built that will generate sustainable local employment through the production of food, fresh water and clean energy, using salt water and sunlight as the main means of production.
A key part of this agreement, signed by Lars Myren, president of Sahara Forest Project Foundation, and Michael Thamm, CEO of Grupo Costa and Carnival Asia, is the involvement of guests from Costa Cruceros and AIDA Cruises, the Costa Group's two brands, in the project. Customers sailing on ships of these companies and calling at Aqaba (Jordan), will try at least ten different types of organic vegetables grown using solar energy and salt water in the Jordanian desert, included in the recipes prepared by the chefs of the two shipping companies.
Lars Myren of the Sahara Forest Project Foundation commented that "this long-term agreement for the supply of vegetables to Costa and AIDA ships will pave the way for the expansion of the project in Jordan, while serving to raise international awareness of the need to expand the number of innovative solutions to combat global warming and create local jobs in desert areas. By 2050 there will be nearly 10 billion people on the planet who will need sustainably produced food, clean water and clean energy. It is urgent to demonstrate that it is possible to transform current agricultural practices, which use 80% of already scarce freshwater resources and contribute 25% to CO2 emissions.
The Sahara Forest Project Foundation currently operates a three-hectare commercial facility 12 kilometres from the port of Aqaba, Jordan, combining saltwater-cooled greenhouses, solar panels and different open-air revegetation techniques for arid zones. The governments of Jordan and Norway, the European Commission and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have been crucial in funding and supporting this unique infrastructure.
From October 2019 to October 2020, 8 ships from the Costa Group will visit Aqaba with a total of 20 stopovers and more than 45,000 guests.