To lessen its reliance on food imports, which account for approximately 90% of the country’s food consumption, the UAE has been increasing its support for AgTech businesses.
AgTech Park, the agricultural arm of Abu Dhabi holding firm ADQ, recently began operations by opening a multipurpose vertical farm.
The vertical farm, the first of numerous controlled-environment projects housed in AgTech Park, is a partnership between ADQ and the Italian tech firm Zero and is situated in the Khalifa Economic Zones Abu Dhabi Group (KEZAD), which is home to a network of food enterprises spanning the whole value chain.
“The project will contribute to the National Food Security Programme and help establish Abu Dhabi and the UAE as the regional hub for food,” said Capt Mohamed Al Shamsi, managing director and chief executive of the AD Ports Group.
At the proof-of-concept stage, the Zero project, which is retrofitted in a 1,000-square-meter warehouse, will produce about 10 tonnes annually.
The 200-hectare AgTech Park will eventually aim to produce more than 40 kilotonnes of fresh fruits and vegetables yearly, which could supply up to 6% of the UAE’s overall consumption and 12% of the country’s imports of the produce cultivated there.
“We are harnessing technology to create a controlled environment that advances the UAE’s ability to grow fresh, nutritious, and tastier foods year-round,” said Gil Adotevi, executive director of food and agriculture at ADQ.
“The breakthrough technology utilized in the park for the first time in the UAE explores new solutions to help tackle the challenge of sustainable farming in arid and desert climates, allowing us to contribute to not only shortening but also ‘greening’ the food value chain, which is top of the agenda for policymakers around the world as we progress on our net-zero journey,” Adotevi added.
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