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3 million kilograms of food: Vertical Farming in the Middle East

3 million kilograms of food: Vertical Farming in the Middle East

Image source: © canva
Natalia Witulska,
18.03.2024 16:45

The United Arab Emirates has a grand vision of creating enormous farms in the desert. The objective is to cultivate and yield millions of kilos of food.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a Middle Eastern country situated on the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman shores. It comprises seven emirates:

  1. Abu Dhabi
  2. Dubai
  3. Sharjah
  4. Ajman
  5. Umm al-Qaywain
  6. Ras al Khaimah
  7. Fujairah

Dubai launched the world's largest vertical farm in 2022. It is a huge production hall with an area of 31,000 square metres. It is located at Al Maktoum International Airport and consists of huge stacked trays for growing crops with minimal water and soil. The farm produces over one million kilograms of high-quality leafy greens yearly.

United Arab Emirates and a massive farm in the desert

The cutting-edge vertical farming system has been developed and is supplied to the UAD by the Scottish company IGS. According to a geekweek.interia.pl report, this system relies on the so-called "growth towers" resembling multi-storey car parks. But instead of cars, they house plants. This provides a fully controlled environment for optimal plant growth.

The plants grown on the "growth towers" do not rely on soil. Instead, they grow on natural compost or special coconut fibres. They are also exposed to energy-saving LED lights instead of natural sunlight. The system's trays are equipped with sensors and cameras that monitor plant growth. Advanced sensors automatically regulate important variables such as light, temperature, humidity, water, and nutrient levels.

As we read on geekweek.interia.pl, this type of farming offers many advantages over conventional agriculture, including faster crop growth, a reduction in water consumption by up to 98%, and taking up much less space. An additional advantage of vertical farms is that they can be built where the soil has been degraded and is unsuitable for conventional agriculture. Vertical farms are not restricted by seasons and climate.

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Huge vertical farms in the Middle East

The main disadvantage of large vertical farms is the high cost of building and maintaining them. However, experts believe the benefits of producing a huge amount of food, regardless of weather and climate, make it a worthwhile investment.

The UAE has announced that it is not deterred by the costs of investing in vertical farms. It plans to establish a GigaFarm, which will be 12 meters high and cover an area of 83,000 square meters. According to geekweek.interia.pl, the primary objective of this project is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The UN estimates that food systems account for one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions, two-thirds of which are associated with the land sector, including agriculture and land use.

Source: geekweek.interia.pl, CNN

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