UAE signs deal to build 12 vertical farms in Dubai

Announcement comes after Emirates Flight Catering revealed it will build the world's largest vertical farming facility covering 130,000 square feet
UAE signs deal to build 12 vertical farms in Dubai
A man works in a hydroponic tomatoes farm. Hydroponics were developed over the ages around the world as an alternative growing system in which plants require a nutrient solution and no soil. (Photo: SIA KAMBOU/AFP/Getty Images)
By Staff writer
Mon 09 Jul 2018 08:39 AM

The UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) has signed an agreement with Shalimar Biotech Industries to establish vertical farms on the ministry’s land in Dubai.

The contract will see the ministry allocate 7,600 square metres of its land for the project, while providing Shalimar Biotech Industries with logistical support and services.

The firm will then build 12 vertical farms complete with infrastructure facilities including a water desalination plant, climate-control air conditioning, LED lighting and automatic irrigation systems.

“The agreement leverages synergies between MoCCAE and the private sector to encourage innovation in agriculture, with the aim of enhancing the UAE’s food security and diversity,” said Sultan Alwan, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Regions Sector at MoCCAE.

"As vertical farming has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than traditional farming, ventures such as this one align with the country’s drive to improve its agricultural self-sufficiency," he added.

Alwan signed the five year agreement with Shalimar Biotech Industries’ founder and CEO CP Ramachandran at the ministry’s headquarters, where Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, was present.


Sultan Alwan, Assistant Under-Secretary for the Regions Sector at MoCCAE, and CP Ramachandran, Founder and CEO of Shalimar Biotech Industries, signed the agreement at MoCCAE headquarters. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, attended the signing.

The collaboration aims to promote new agricultural technologies, provide an educational centre for local farmers, students and researchers, reduce agricultural waste and the risk of infection, achieve year-round crop production and mitigate thermal emissions from agricultural processes.

The announcement comes less than a month after Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) revealed it will co-invest $40 million to build the world’s largest vertical farming facility near Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central. The project is a joint venture with US-based vertical farm leader Crop One Holdings.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates airline and group said building and operating the world’s largest vertical farming facility, covering 130,000 square feet, aligns with the UAE’s drive for more agricultural self-sufficiency.

The facility will have a production output equivalent to 900 acres of farmland. It will harvest 2,700 kg of high-quality, herbicide-free and pesticide-free leafy greens daily, using 99% less water than outdoor fields.

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