Largest indoor farm in the world to be developed in Abu Dhabi
A joint venture between GrowGroup IFS and RainMKRS Capital Investment announced the construction of a 17,5 ha indoor farm in the desert of Abu Dhabi.
The GreenFactory Emirates will be the biggest indoor farm in the world. The farm uses 95 percent less water compared to conventional outdoor farming.
Vertical and flat farming
The GreenFactory Emirates will produce 10,000 tons of fresh produce per year on a cultivation area of 160,000 square meters. It combines vertical and flat farming and solves the normal cultivation restrictions due to extreme climates in regions as the UAE.
The total project amounting to 150 million euro is planned in different phases for the next 3 years.
Extreme low water use
Compared to standard farming methods, the farm uses very little water. According to GrowGroup director John Breedveld the water use will be even lower than for conventional greenhouse cultivations.
‘The water scarcity made us decide to reuse the condensate water. In countries where water is less scarce, this is often considered to be too expensive. We expect to realise a water use of only 2 liter per kilogram produced food.'
The extreme low water use, also helps the farm to achieve a low carbon footprint. Breedveld: ‘As we use so little water, we can get it from an inland fresh water source. Therefore we don't need to use fresh water that is produced by desalination of sea water. This is a very common water source in Abu Dhabi but it has a higher carbon footprint.’
‘It helps us to reduce the farmer’s CO2 footprint up to 40 percent compared to conventional outdoor production’, added Breedveld.
Food security is high on the UAE’s agenda. The country aims to be number 1 on the Global Food Security Index by 2051.
Commenting on the announcement, Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security said: ‘The UAE is applying concerted efforts to improve its domestic production of food, with agricultural technology having a hugely important role to play.‘
‘In fact, key targets of the government’s National Food Security strategy are to generate a 30 percent yield improvement from technology-enabled production. Indoor farms such as GreenFactory Emirates are instrumental in helping us reach these goals’, stated minister Hareb Almheiri.
Research and development
GreenFactory Emirates will include a built-in research and development component that will help ramp up the production beyond the 56 current varieties of lettuces, leafy greens, herbs and kale. It will also optimise its production by collecting real time data to inform future global expansion of indoor farming.
With confirmed partnerships with GAAS Wageningen and Delphy in The Netherlands, GreenFactory will benefit from live feedback provided by some of the best students and academia in the field.
The partnership between GrowGroup and rainMKRS is a result of an introduction made by the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands in the United Arab Emirates and the Monarch Group which has played an instrumental role in seeking opportunities and nurturing relationships.
The joint venture announced the construction of more indoor farms in other regions of the world where extreme climates are a challenge to normal cultivation.