Vertical Farming - Middle East Government's Involvement
With so much focus on securing steady streams of food supplies for large populations, the Middle East Government is doing a tremendous job to secure food security. Know How….
The Middle East is a place with various challenges of climate change and incredible demand for local food sources. The rapidly increasing population gives a need of getting the right connection for securing the food security of the growing continent. So the Middle Eastern government is focusing on securing food supplies for the growing population.
Countries like UAE, Saudi, Qatar, etc depend on imports for more than four-fifths of their food supply - thus vertical farming gives unprecedented benefits, offering the prospect of growing more produce locally and making better use of the region's limited resources.
Let's look at the developments Middle East countries have made–
Saudi - Saudi Arabia with its limited arable land and scarce water resources has taken a keen interest in vertical farming. In 2018, the government announced a $10 million investment in a vertical farming project in the city of Jazan, in the southwest of the country. To let you know, Arabs are building their largest vertical farm in Riyadh to be fully operational by 2023 named JV - providing jobs to people and making sustainable produce available to the local community. The Saudi kingdom already has some vertical farms in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. Mowreq (a vertical farming company in Saudi Arabia) also has a vertical farm fully operational.
Qatar- Like many other countries in the middle east, Qatar has limited arable land and relies heavily on food imports. To address this issue, the Qatari government has launched a number of initiatives to promote local food production, including vertical farming. In 2017, the government announced plans to build the country's first commercial vertical farm which is expected to produce up to 1,000 tons of fresh produce annually and is doing the same as antcipated. To build a vertical farm in Qatar, AeroFarms signed a partnership agreement with Qatar Free Zones Authority (QFZA) and Doha Venture Capital. The Qatar Investment Authority has agreed to back Dutch indoor startup farms with $200 million and promised to establish its first centre in Doha in 2023.
UAE - United Arab Emirates has made significant investments in vertical farming, with the aim of reducing its reliance on imported food and improving food security. Bustanica, the world's largest vertical hydroponic farm opened by UAE, is capable of producing over 1000 tonnes of greens. The country has over 35,00 farms that use new-age technologies and are environment friendly, which contributed towards the pledge to secure food initiatives including diversification of food sources. According to the UAE government website, Emirates aims to make itself the world's best in the Global Food Security Index by 2051, thus during the first quarter of 2020 food imports to the UAE reached more than 3.5 million tonnes at a value of over AED 13 billion. According to Alpen Capital's 2019 GCC Food Report, 85 percent of all food consumed across the entire Gulf region is imported. The reasons for this include the limited arable land, climate, and water scarcity.
The UAE government has established a number of other initiatives to support vertical farming - according to reports the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) have launched a $100 million agtech fund to support the development of vertical farming and other innovative agricultural technologies. The fund provides capital to startups and established companies working in the agtech sector, with a focus on projects that can help to improve food security and sustainability. The opening of the world's largest vertical farm in Dubai reflects the high priority that strategies place on long-term food security and the government's commitment to making continuous investments to ensure sustainable growth.
Vertical farming is not only limited to the Middle East, it is booming in the whole world addressing the fact that the world population is growing but arable land is not. Due to increasing desertification in the Middle East , vertical farming is particularly helpful in the region as it uses less water and limited space.
Want to explore Middle East vertical farming, visit the 4th edition of Global Vertical Farming on 13th - 14th September in Dubai.