UAE: How this futurist's fertiliser will make the desert green, boost farming

Ahead of Emirati Women's Day, Alanoud Alhashmi spoke to Khaleej Times about her ground-breaking invention


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sun 27 Aug 2023, 12:42 PM

Last updated: Sun 27 Aug 2023, 4:21 PM

An Emirati futurist’s company has developed an organic fertiliser, that doesn’t strip the soil of its nutrients and can make plants grow faster.

Alanoud Alhashmi, CEO and founder of The Futurist Company claims the product can revamp the future of agriculture in the UAE.

“Within ten days of using it, farmers will be able to see the difference in their crops,” Alanoud said, speaking to Khaleej Times. “During our research, we found that the yields can be improved by at least 30 per cent by using this fertiliser. It does not deplete the quality of the soil and it is cheaper than the existing chemical fertilisers available in the market.”

What is more, this fertiliser protects crops from diseases and retains more moisture in the soil, making the plants more water efficient. Chemical-free and odourless, the fertiliser can also absorb carbon dioxide from the air. “We are now looking at ways to work with government agencies so that we can meaningfully contribute to the country’s waste-to-energy project to meet the target of carbon neutral 2050,” she said.

A passion for solutions

The Futurist Company not only manufactures fertilisers but also finds innovative solutions for various issues. “I sit with experts and PhD holders in many fields, and we discuss problems,” she said. “I look at it from a business point of view and figure out how to implement it. Together we plug the missing part of the puzzle.”

Some of the solutions she has worked on include graphene batteries and agritech products that use hydroponics. “The agrictech product really excited me,” she said. “We figured out a way to grow crops in a closed environment using hydroponics that made it not just organic but also cheaper. It was what led me to establish The Futurist Company in 2020.”

According to her, the main aim of the company is to design future-facing projects. “Everyone is thinking five or seven years into the future, but we are thinking 25 years into the future,” she said. “When we develop anything, we think of the maintenance of the technology, how long it will live and what are the social, environmental, and business aspects.”

Jack of all trades

According to Alanoud, it is her history as a jack of all trades that has led her to become a unique futurist and entrepreneur who is passionate about the power of digital transformation. “I first started studying media but then I didn’t like it so I dropped out,” she said.

Then Alanoud worked in a string of private, public, and semi-government organizations where she honed and sharpened her skills.

At one point, she even went back to university to study biochemistry. “I joined the university in 2011 because I was always interested in science,” she said, while addressing a crowd at the Audi Emirati Women’s Day event. “However, at that time, I had a job, and it was hard to manage everything, so I quit.”

But Alanoud said that despite not having the degrees, the knowledge that she imbibed at all these universities and courses has helped her immensely. “Whether it is marketing a product or knowing what goes into the fertilisers, my studies have helped me in the day-to-day functioning of my company,” she said.


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