Dubai to set up vertical farm for sustainable produce

Hydroponic facility to produce tons of fruit, vegetables per year

  
General view of a high tech vertical farm where local farmers have a chance to cultivate their crops, despite the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates April 13, 2020.

General view of a high tech vertical farm where local farmers have a chance to cultivate their crops, despite the nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates April 13, 2020.

REUTERS/Abdel Hadi Ramahi

DUBAI: A new vertical farm due to be set up in Dubai Industrial City will produce thousands of tons of leafy greens, fruits and vegetables per year, it was announced on Sunday.

The 100,000-square-foot plot will grow fresh kale, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries and melons for hundreds of hypermarkets, hotels and kitchens across the UAE.

The hydroponic facility location will have a retractable sunroof to maximize natural light and reduce electricity consumption, while processing and sorting equipment will sanitize and pack the produce for delivery to customers.

Rotating 7-meter-tall towers will make sure that all the crops get equal exposure to natural sunlight.

Saud Abu Al-Shawareb, managing director of Dubai Industrial City, said in a press statement: “Growing melons, tomatoes, strawberries and kale in an arid climate with limited water and arable land should be impossible, but the UAE’s commitment to innovation-driven food security shows anything is possible.

“Food security is a national priority, and the expansion of technology-driven sustainable farming is vital to build and scale resilient production systems that can grow fresh and healthy produce. It also catalyzes investment and employment opportunities that contribute to our knowledge-based economy,” he added.

In May, Dubai launched a specialized zone that will help the UAE achieve its food security goals.

The new Food Tech Valley will feature research and development facilities to develop advanced farming technology, and incubate innovative agribusiness ideas.

“We launched the first phase of Food Tech Valley, a new modern & vibrant city that will serve as a global destination for start-ups and industry experts in the food ecosystem,” Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum had tweeted.

“It will host R&D facilities, innovation center, smart food logistics hub and areas for vertical farming,” he added.

The UAE’s food trade exceeds AED100 billion ($27.2 billion) annually, he said, describing the Gulf country as a global food logistics hub.

The Gulf region has been exploring ways to improve sustainability in regards with food production.

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