Ambitious Abu Dhabi to build world’s largest indoor farm

Ambitious Abu Dhabi to build world’s largest indoor farm

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GreenFactory Emirates, a United Arab Emirates firm, plans to produce 10,000 tonnes of fresh produce per year and combine vertical and flat farming techniques in a project billed to be the largest indoor farm.

The AED650 million ($176,930,000) project will develop an innovative indoor farming with the world’s most advanced indoor growing system from The Netherlands that consists of a combination of vertical and flat farming to solve the normal cultivation restrictions due to extreme climates in regions like the UAE, Arabian Business, an online pubication, reports.

A joint venture between GrowGroup IFS from the Netherlands – an agricultural technolgy, research and marketing agency – and Abu Dhabi-based RainMakers Capital Investment will build the largest indoor farm in the world in the desert of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

GreenFactory Emirates will produce 10,000 tonnes of fresh produce per year on a plot of 17.5 hectares and a cultivation area of 160,000 square metres.

According to a statement, the facility in the Abu Dhabi desert will involve numerous leading agro-technological companies in its construction. From seeding, harvesting, processing to “ready to eat” products will take place under one roof. The joint venture also plans to build other indoor farms in other regions of the world where extreme climates are a challenge to normal cultivation, the statement added.

Mariam Hareb Almheiri, the UAE’s Minister of State for Food Security says, “The private sector plays a vital role in the transition towards more sustainable food systems. Private sector organisations have entrepreneurial traits that drive innovation. They possess the qualities necessary to disrupt existing non-sustainable agricultural systems.”

She adds, “The UAE is applying concerted efforts to improve its domestic production of food, with agricultural technology – ‘AgTech’ – having a hugely important role to play… Indoor farms such as GreenFactory Emirates are instrumental in helping us reach these goals.”

The GreenFactory said it will be saving 95 per cent of water consumption as opposed to standard methods of cultivation as well as reducing its carbondioxide footprint up to 40 per cent. By growing fresh produce locally, it also aims to slowly reduce reliance on fresh food imports.

The indoor farm will include a built-in research and development component that will help ramp up the production beyond the 56 current varieties of lettuces, leafy greens, herbs and kale. It will also optimise its production by collecting real time data to inform future global expansion of indoor farming.

Phase one will be operational before Expo2020 Dubai in October 2021, so GreenFactory Emirates can show the world its innovations.

Earlier this month, ADQ announced the establishment of Silal, a new company in Abu Dhabi developed to diversify food sources and increase locally grown, raised and manufactured food.

The new entity complements the Abu Dhabi government’s efforts to secure food supply chains as well as to boost the supply and distribution of food in the emirate.

Silal, meaning “baskets” in Arabic, will also implement knowledge-transfer programmes related to desert farming technology and other research and development projects to support an increase in local production of fruits and vegetables from small farmers in the UAE.

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