US based Crop One Holding along with Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) will co-invest $40 million to build the world’s largest vertical farming facility near Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central.
Crop One provides a market leading technology platform for indoor growing.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group said: “Today’s announcement is an important milestone for the Emirates Group, for Dubai, and for the UAE. This investment to build and operate the world’s largest vertical farming facility aligns with the UAE’s drive for more agricultural self-sufficiency.”
“As one of the world’s largest airline catering operations, Emirates Flight Catering constantly looks at innovation, and ways to improve our productivity, product and service quality.”
When complete, the vertical farm facility will cover 130,000 square feet, but have a production output equivalent to 900 acres of farmland.
At full production, the facility will harvest 2,700 kg of high-quality, herbicide-free and pesticide-free leafy greens daily, using 99 percent less water than outdoor fields.
The proximity of the farm to the point of consumption also substantially reduces carbon emissions associated with transportation. It will also ensure the quick delivery of the fresh products, reaching customers within hours of harvest, maintaining high nutritional value.
The construction of the facility is scheduled to start in November and will take approximately one year to complete.
The first products are expected to be delivered to Emirates Flight Catering’s customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges, in December 2019.
“Introducing the latest technology to our operations, we secure our own supply chain of high quality and locally-sourced fresh vegetables, while significantly reducing our environmental footprint,” said Saeed Mohammed, CEO of Emirates Flight Catering.
“Our proven business model has demonstrated profitable commercial production longer than any other major vertical farmer,” added Sonia Lo, CEO of Crop One Holdings. “We are farmers using the most sophisticated plant science and proven business efficiencies to provide market leading consumer products every day.”
According to Crop One website, “vertical farming produces crops in indoor farms using technology to ensure, pesticide-free, optimal growing conditions with digital and mechanical, rather than chemical or genetic, plant control. The farms can be located anywhere because temperature, humidity, light, water and plant nutrients are all provided in a controlled environment. Plants are grown in a soil-less growth medium using nutrient solutions that produce fast-growing, healthy plants.”
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