By 2050 the population of the world is expected to increase five times in number; from a current 2 billion to 9.3 billion (FAO). This massive increase coupled with radically shifting diets will consequently put a strain on food production. Simultaneously, the demographic associated with agricultural practices particularly in countries like Pakistan are categorized as the “rural poor”. Since the rural poor primarily constitute subsistence producers, family farmers or landless agricultural workers, a dual problem of lack of resources and unemployment of the rural poor calls for action. More than 70% of the world’s dry land is subject to degradation, the cause of which, predominantly, is the overuse, or incorrect use of existing farmlands alongside climatic discrepancies, the over consumption and pollution of water all of which results in water shortage. Pakistan alone is expected to face shortage of 31 MAF of water by 2025. For a country with a large portion of GDP dedicated to agriculture (21%), such bearings pose a threat to economy and stability. Harvester˛ seeks to unanimously address the dual problem of agricultural impediments and rural unemployment by creating a self-sufficient ecosystem that produces two essential agricultural materials under duress; water and space, whilst simultaneously creating opportunities for small village farmers by employing innovative vernacular techniques.
Harvester˛ is comprised of a condensation system that makes water readily available to a vertical aeroponic farm. The form orients across the vertical span to gain maximum sunlight during the day. Two Mulqafs (traditional wind catchers) align themselves on the periphery of the form, facilitating the suction of the humid air from the surrounding environment into condensation chambers to form water droplets in an earth molded spherical tank. Water becomes available for aeroponic farming; a technology which utilizes mist from a nutrient solution for agriculture. The water travels from the tank to ring channels that span the surface of the structure (seed bed) seeping through as mist. The surface itself houses agricultural growth. The wastewater produced is collected in a pond, at the heart of the structure. Filtration processes discharge the water back into the tank, ready to be re-used, especially during unreliable climatic conditions.
Harvester˛ aims to employ vernacular construction techniques and materials native to Pakistan. Two of such techniques include the woven surface and the earth molded tank. A resilient interwoven structure allows for the integrity of form and know-how of construction technique, especially in the rural areas of Pakistan. Earth or mud construction is predominant in Punjab, Pakistan. This material is readily available, cheap, a know-how with the rural folk and takes inspiration from an earthen drinking pot. Harvester˛ does not seek to address one problem. By generating water out of thin air and creating space for vegetation by tenfold, it embodies the expenditure of minimal resources and usage of innovative technology. In a country where the political and social landscapes fail to facilitate the farmer, this is a welcome change that invests in the future of food production by providing job security and empowerment to the rural poor.