The rise in temperature as one of the manifestations of climate change needs innovative solutions to address these major problems, which in turn affect our entire lives, including the cultivation of crops. It has sufficient areas due to the lack of soil and the increase in population, due to the absence of green color and a noticeable increase in temperature, as well as the spread of pollution.
One of the successful solutions that experts resorted to was to plant roofs to reduce heat and exploit wasted areas in the production of crops suitable for home use. The achieved results of roof cultivation are the exploitation of neglected areas to produce basic household needs of fresh and pesticide-free vegetables, fruits and medicinal plants, increase oxygen and get rid of garbage and waste stored on roofs, which serves as a nursery. and shelter for the breeding of insects, rodents and reptiles that are harmful to human health, in addition to environmental pollution due to the presence of these residues.
Many experiments have been carried out by major research centers in Egypt, including the Climate Information Center at the Ministry of Agriculture, which has partnered with the Egyptian research centers to spread the idea of growing roofs and encourage citizens to do so, but the interest in the cultivation of roofs in Egypt is still on a small scale, and the idea must receive increasing attention, by spreading awareness of the importance of these crops, whether at the health, environmental, social or economic level, and the expansion of the range of roof construction among urbanites, neighborhoods, schools and others.
As Engineer Mohamed Taha, founder of the Agricultural Initiative, says, “Live and let us plant beautiful ideas at a low cost.”
Taha’s idea was very successful as the roof of his house became a picture of the nutritional integration of him and everyone around him, but he still saw that the idea of growing roofs required continuous education and a love of agriculture.
The most prominent obstacles to plant surfaces
A recent scientific study stated that the main factors hindering the spread of roofing farming in Egypt are the high basic cost of establishing roofing farming systems, as most people prefer to have the systems ready instead of training and learning how to to create it, and how to extract the available waste or waste in the area around them As well as the high prices of seeds and seedlings, especially the seeds of hybrid vegetables, and it can be replaced by seeds of vegetable varieties in the open field, which perhaps not of high yield, or of lower quality.
Among the obstacles are also the lack of collective participation among neighbors, to a large extent, in a united work that brings everyone together on one goal, and the serious lack of guidance and technical frameworks trained to guide people on these systems explain and train, in addition to the limited role of the media in guidance and direction, and the lack of fertilizers or solutions The nutrient for crops grown on rooftops in stores, and its availability is limited to one or two sources, which leads to difficulty in obtaining it, since a large part of the success of that cultivation is due to the composting process.
Residents often fear the size of the loads on the roofs, because they believe that silt is used as a means of agriculture, and the extent to which the roofs can carry these loads, in addition to their fear of sewage leakage, which will lead to damage to the building.
One of the conditions of surfaces suitable for cultivation is that it is exposed to direct sunlight for a period of at least 4 to 5 hours a day when vegetables, fruits or medicinal and aromatic plants want to grow. used in the cultivation of ornamental plants, and places exposed to strong winds should be avoided, and the site should be close to the water source by about 15 or 20 meters, so that it is not a burden on the cultivation, and that it is far from various pollution hotspots, such as garbage, or wastewater and harmful industrial waste.
Citizens can plant roofs without soil, as the roof of the house is considered a table to put the system on it without causing any damage to the roof, and those systems that do not allow the loss of water or nutrients, and these systems achieve high efficiency in the use of water, as closed systems do not allow the loss of water, either through drainage or evaporation, thus increasing the efficiency of water use as much as possible.
This type of agriculture, known as aerodynamic or “hydroponic” agriculture, also achieves high efficiency in the use of fertilizers, as it only consumes the needs of the plant, and there is no loss of nutrients, and is characterized by high efficiency to increases productivity through, for example, vertical intensification of seedlings. Consequently, strawberries are planted according to traditional methods at a density of about 8 to 12 plants per square meter, while the air cultivation system grows about 32 to 40 plants per square meter.
Lastly, it remains to be said that roofing is a suitable solution for Egyptian families to contribute to tackling climate change, and it is an economical solution that makes it possible to meet the needs of the home in times of high prices.