Shrimps produced at the high-tech Shrimp Cultivation Research Center, a joint venture project between South Korea and Algeria, in Ouargla, southern Algeria, April 11, 2018. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Thin Lei Win
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Farming fish in the desert might sound counterintuitive but Algeria hopes to tap the huge aquifers beneath the Sahara – that covers about 80 percent of the country – as it seeks new ways to feed its growing population and diversify its oil based economy.Algeria's population is forecast by the United Nations to rise 25 percent to nearly 50 million people by 2030, increasing demand for food and jobs in the North African nation, one of many countries battling water scarcity and population growth.Taha Hammouche, director-general for fisheries at Algeria's Agriculture Ministry, said as many as 13,000 farmers have expressed interest in aquaculture projects, enthused after the Sahara yielded its first harvest of farmed desert shrimp two years ago.IN THE DESERTHammouche said Algeria hopes aquaculture in the Sahara will help to nearly double the nation's annual fish production by 2022 from current levels of about 100,000 tons a year.Studies have shown consuming fish is particularly beneficial for pregnant women and young children, Crespi saud, who has been working with Algerian authorities since desert aquaculture was first mooted in the country a decade ago.
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