UAE - Hatch & Boost Ventures, an Abu Dhabi-based venture builder dedicated to ‘hatching’ startup ideas, has announced the launch of its first agritech startup in its portfolio, World of Farming (WoF).
As the world faces unprecedented food security challenges, exacerbated by the pressure of rising global temperatures and limited water supply, World of Farming (WoF) is introducing a first-of-its-kind hydroponic fodder (livestock feed) farming methodology for the meat and dairy industry to the Middle East market, which aims to address these challenges and enhance the sector sustainability.
The UAE and other Gulf nations are known to have a harsh environment for farming due high temperatures, scarcity of arable land, and limited freshwater resources.
Vertical farming model
As a result, the UAE imports 80-90% of the food it consumes, including livestock feed. In line with the UAE’s National Food Strategy 2051, WoF’s vertical farming model will enable local farmers to produce fresh, and cost-effective, local alternatives to international imports of animal fodder independently, efficiently, and more sustainably.
The startup will be making this possible through its patent-pending proprietary methodology called, ‘The Cattleyst’. This full circular farming methodology sustainably produces livestock feed through a closed loop system that reduces methane emissions to the atmosphere.
This approach will supply the local dairy and meat industry with highly nutritious, herbicides and pesticides free animal feed at reduced cost, using up to 90% less water and up to 90% less land than traditional farming.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
“Today, animal agriculture is one of the most harmful industries on the planet, directly responsible for 14% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and upwards of 50,000 acres of forest are cleared by farmers and loggers every day, around the world. This extreme clearing of land results in habitat loss, amplification of greenhouse gasses, and disruption of water cycles. Coupled with the effects of international mass shipping, and copious amounts of water consumption, the snowball effect of unprecedented global challenges we are seeing will continue to gather pace if we don’t do something about it today,” said Faris Mesmar, CEO and Managing Partner of hatch & boost.
“With WoF, we are making agriculture more sustainable. WoF’s vertical farming technology will enable farmers to overcome their dependence on imported livestock feed by growing fresh and nutritious animal feed on their farm. With more farmers adopting our farming approach locally, our ultimate goal is to enhance the agricultural sustainability of livestock ranching and supply chains, and the customers they serve on the regional and global scale,” said Dr Walid Saad, CEO & Co-Founder of WoF.
Currently in private BETA, WoF’s proprietary software technology, uses data to monitor and adjust farming parameters to identify the ultimate environment for optimal farm output. The vertical farm tracks crops during their growth cycle using AI and imagery to determine health, rate of growth and detect diseases.
WoF aims to build, operate, and manage farms across the region, allowing farmers to enjoy cost saving benefits resulting from eliminating reliance on fodder import, nutritional losses due to long term storage, or logistics and storage costs.
“The launch of WoF comes at a time of profound geopolitical challenges and tensions across the world. Due to the current global crisis threatening food security, supply chains disruptions are significantly impacting farmers and end customers. We look forward to scaling WoF in the coming years, to accelerate the practice of sustainable farming in the UAE and support the UAE & wider region in its development of more robust food security for our region,” Dr Saad added.
WoF has recently been awarded its first customer contract to build, operate and manage a fully integrated circular farm in the UAE with a total output of 3,000 metric tonnes of fresh animal feed all year round. This comes after having successfully completed its first prototype earlier this year.
The startup is also currently fund raising to grow and scale its operations and offerings in the wider Mena, including Saudi Arabia.
WoF is simultaneously working with a number of local universities to empower youth and engage them in research and development programmes to develop local solutions supporting the national food security strategy.
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