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Palestine Expert Offers Plan to Unrra for Feeding Liberated Europe by Hydroponics

April 7, 1944
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A proposal for feeding liberated Europe by hydroponics — agriculture without soil — will be laid before the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration in the United States by Dr. S.E. Soskin, leading Palestinian agronomist.

Dr. Soskin, who has experimented successfully with the soil-less method, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency he would suggest the dispatch of a technical mission to Palestine to consider the immediate introduction of large-scale hydroponic cultivation here to provide foodstuffs for Europe. This, he said, would reduce the burden on Allied shipping and the drain on Allied food stocks. Five hundred tons of chemicals shipped from the United States, he said, could produce 10,000 tons of potatoes.

Hydroponics was the name given by Professor William F. Gericke of the University of California to the method of soil-less growing which he developed. Soskin said he planned to visit Gericke and study the commercial use of hydroponics in California, New Mexico and other states. Chemical solutions in tanks replace soil beds.

“Palestine is particularly well adapted to the chemical method of agriculture since it has on the average of 320 days of sunshine yearly,” he pointed out. “Food production by this method would be of particular advantage of Palestine, as it requires less water than soil farming.” He expressed his belief that soil-less agriculture could be carried on the many areas of Palestine with from 25 to 85 percent less water than is now used. He envisioned a time when Palestinians in cities would be balconies or in backyards, through most of the year.

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