Abu Dhabi to be home of world’s largest indoor farm

Project will be developed in three phases and is expected to produce 10,000 tonnes of fresh produce per year

The largest indoor farm in the world is set to take shape in the desert of Abu Dhabi, following a joint venture (JV) deal between GrowGroup IFS from the Netherlands and RainMakers Capital Investment from Abu Dhabi.

The project is expected to cost $177m and is planned in different phases over the course of three years. Phase 1 will be operational before Expo 2020 Dubai in October 2021, so GreenFactory Emirates can show the world its innovations, the statement said.

The GreenFactory Emirates is expected to produce 10,000 tonnes of fresh produce per year, on a plot of 17.5 hectares and a cultivation area of 160,000sqm. The company says it will develop innovative indoor farming with the world’s most advanced indoor growing system from the Netherlands. It is a combination of vertical and flat farming and solves the normal cultivation restrictions due to extreme climates in regions like the UAE.

The facility is expected to involve numerous agro-technological companies in its construction as best of breed for each component will be sourced through top-tier Dutch companies. It is now possible to cultivate high-quality vegetables 100% pesticide-free, all year round and anywhere on the planet, the statement noted.

“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,” said Mariam Hareb Almheiri, minister of State for Food Security.

She added, “The UAE is applying concerted efforts to improve its domestic production of food, with agricultural technology – ‘AgTech’ – having a hugely important role to play. In fact, key targets of the government’s National Food Security strategy launched in November 2018 are to generate a 30% yield improvement from technology-enabled production and for the UAE to become a world-leading hub in innovation-driven food security by 2051. Indoor farms such as GreenFactory Emirates are instrumental in helping us reach these goals.”

The JV also plans to build other indoor farms in other regions of the world, where extreme climates are a challenge to normal cultivation, the statement explained.

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