Dubai Industrial City, a TECOM Group member and one of the largest industrial hubs in the region, will be home to Badia Farms’ upcoming new large-scale high-tech vertical farm.
The signing ceremony drew the participation of His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, and Abdulla Belhoul, Chief Commercial Officer of TECOM Group. Saud Abu Al-Shawareb, Managing Director of Dubai Industrial City, and Omar Al Jundi, Founder and CEO of Badia Farms, signed the agreement formalising the partnership.
Spanning an area of 50,000 sq ft, the state-of-the-art facility is expected to start operations in Q2 2020. The vertical farm will have the capacity to produce 3,500 kg of high-quality fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. From Dubai Industrial City, Badia Farms will grow more than 30 varieties of fruits and vegetables sustainably.
Considered as the future of farming, vertical farming uses high-tech methods to produce crops in a controlled environment leveraging vertical space, without pesticides, and using fewer resources compared to traditional farming. The Badia Farms facility in Dubai Industrial City in particular is a game changer, as combining fruits and vegetables in vertical farming is uncommon on a commercial large-scale basis.
This pioneering farm aligns with Dubai’s and the UAE’s efforts to promote the AgTech industry and implement progressive policies nurturing innovation that contributes to national food security in a country where more than 80 per cent of fruits and vegetables are imported. The UAE expects to become a food producer in the near future, owing to technological transformations, especially in vertical farming. As a key stakeholder of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 tasked with priority subsectors that include the food industry due to its importance to national food security, Dubai Industrial City offers diverse solutions that cater to the requirements needed for such operations.
His Excellency Dr Al Zeyoudi said: “Badia Farms is an exceptional example of how the UAE’s agricultural industry can thrive while protecting our environment for future generations. This new high-tech vertical farm will contribute to the UAE’s commitment to becoming more sustainable. Hydroponic technology is a major contributor to agricultural sustainability and food diversity, as it improves crop production and lowers its cost. This is evident in the successful production achieved by Badia Farms in the very short time since its inception. Sustaining food diversity relies heavily on innovation and the employment of cutting-edge technologies.
“The Ministry supports all efforts in this field and works on strengthening its ties with the private sector to explore more potential opportunities. We commend the successful endeavor of Badia Farms, which reaffirms the UAE’s position as a leading incubator for innovation.”
Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security, said: “The UAE has set clear plans to enhance its food security, relying on an integrated ecosystem to produce and manage food – a system that employs advanced modern technologies to develop solutions to the challenges the UAE faces, most notably water scarcity and lack of arable land. Controlled-environment agriculture systems are an important solution for producing food in the UAE and the world. The UAE is now home to several vertical farms equipped with hydroponics and soilless farming technologies.”
Her Excellency applauded the announcement to establish a vertical farm as part of Badia Farms that will begin operations next year. She added that the UAE is working to create a conducive environment to promote investment in agriculture in strategic partnership with the private sector, noting that the objective is to ensure sufficient supply of produce to the local markets while driving progress in the food security sector to establish the UAE as one of the top 10 countries on the Global Food Security Index by 2021.
Abdulla Belhoul said: “In line with the UAE’s efforts to lead in innovation and technology, our focus at TECOM Group is on providing an enabling environment for companies across our communities in order to support the growth of our business partners and to attract the most innovative organisations and the best talent that can contribute to Dubai’s knowledge- and innovation-based economy.”
Saud Abu Al-Shawareb said: “As a taskforce leader of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, our mission is to contribute to the advancement of the industrial sector in the UAE and the sub-sectors identified as priority areas, including the food industry. A main focus for us is on supporting the development of an advanced and sustainable food industry that contributes to national food security. We are proud to have Badia Farms as part of our business community and we are committed to supporting its endeavours to achieve sustainable food production using modern technologies in a state-of-the-art warehouse in line with the National Food Security Strategy 2051.”
Omar Al Jundi said: “In continuation of our efforts to solve the food security challenges in the UAE and the region, we are proud to announce our partnership with Dubai Industrial City to launch a large-scale high-tech vertical farm that will produce gourmet quality fruits and vegetables all year round. This partnership is key to achieving our objectives and ensuring alignment with the UAE Vision 2021 to provide sustainable solutions to growing food. As founders of the first vertical farm in the region back in 2016, we are committed to innovation in the AgTech space to achieve our ultimate goal of elevating the UAE and the region from importers to exporters of fruits and vegetables.”
Dubai Industrial City provides intelligent infrastructure and integrated solutions for businesses. It is a key stakeholder of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, tasked with developing priority areas, including the food and beverage industry. The hub is home to over 280 factories and more than 750 business partners in sector-specific zones, including major local and multinational organisations.
Based in Dubai, Badia Farms is the AgTech leader in the region that uses innovative hydroponic technology to grow fruits and vegetables all year round. The farm’s ground-breaking methods produce crops without sunlight, soil or pesticides, using 90 per cent less water compared to open field farming. The company’s vision is to revolutionise the agricultural sector to provide practical solutions for food security.