Construction is under way on a new vertical indoor farm in Abu Dhabi, which will be the largest in the world for research, a step in the emirate’s mission to “turn the desert green”, according to its backers.

The farm is being built by AeroFarms AgX, a wholly owned UAE-based subsidiary of the US-based AeroFarms, who said the facility is a catalyst towards establishing Abu Dhabi as a global hub for agricultural technology (AgTech) innovation.

It is in partnership with Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), which is providing $150 million in incentives to bring AgTech to the emirate, in a bid to develop next generation agriculture in arid desert climates.

The research conducted at the new facility, due to be operational in the first quarter of 2022, is expected to enable new business lines, technologies and growth of the AeroFarms platform, while serving as a hub for regional expansion.

The 54,000 sq. ft. facility is expected to employ 60 horticulturalists, engineers and scientists, and will include high-tech laboratories in horticultural and new generation tech disciplines such as organoleptic research, machine learning, robotics and automation.

Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Director General of ADIO, said: “This important milestone for AeroFarms AgX is another step in the realisation of Abu Dhabi’s mission to ‘turn the desert green’.

“In line with this goal, ADIO is supporting innovative technology that has the potential to impact farming practices across the globe and improve the food production value chain worldwide.”

David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms, said: “Our vision has always been to leverage our expertise in plant biology and build on our successful history of collaborating with government, universities, industry and major international companies.

“We are pleased to take this step forward and proud to be a catalyst for helping to establish the emirate of Abu Dhabi as a global hub for AgTech innovation.”

(Writing by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)

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