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Vertical Farming: UAE to Develop World’s Biggest Vertical Farm, Plans to Boost Food Production

A senior UAE official announced on Monday that the country will develop the world's biggest vertical farm to boost Food security.

Shivani Meena
Vertical farm
Vertical farm

As per a senior official, the UAE will establish the world's biggest vertical farm near the Expo 2020 site to boost the food production of the country. "It will be operational very soon and will generate many of the basic food products that we require, such as tomatoes, leafy greens, and so on," stated Essa Abdul Rahman Al Hashemi, Head of the UAE's Food and Water Security Office. 

Hashemi said the government is progressively moving toward food self-sufficiency by spending big on technology and innovation, speaking at the Food, Agriculture, and Livelihoods Business Forum at Expo 2020 on Monday. 

"Our self-sufficiency goals are progressing rapidly and in a way that is both ambitious and achievable," Hashemi added. According to the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, UAE farmers have grown 70 different types of vegetables, fruits, and herbs in recent years, including tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, mangoes, and oranges. 

The UAE has over 35,000 farms, many of which employ advanced agricultural techniques such as hydroponics and vertical farming. 

Betting big on Innovation and Technology and Transforming the desert 

Climate change, declining biodiversity, diminishing water resources, and disturbances in global supply networks are all posing serious challenges to the global agricultural and food landscape, making food security a top governmental issue for many countries. 

It's much more difficult for nations like the UAE, which imports 90% of its food. 

With a growing population and increased consumer demands, the UAE faces a difficult problem in addressing its food security needs, which has been made even more difficult by the pandemic. 

To promote food security and boost local agricultural output, the UAE created the National Food Security Strategy 2018. 

"We discovered that by embracing technology and innovation, we can better manage the food security landscape of the country." 

UAE: The early Investor in Controlled Environment Farming 

According to Hashemi, the UAE began investing in advanced farming technology in 1968. "The first greenhouse was built in the United Arab Emirates in 1968. It proved that food that we previously thought was difficult to cultivate can be grown. From that point forward, the UAE has been firmly committed to controlled environment applications and the technology that goes along with them "he said. 

He claims that approaches that allow them to control humidity, temperature, and the production environment improve yield while ensuring clean food manufacturing. Indoor farming is also popular, according to them, with many individuals converting buildings or containers to grow food. 

Our farmers, on the other hand, are turning to low-tech, controlled-environment solutions like net houses. He claims that the elementary net houses that protect crops from excessive heat and humidity require relatively little water. "We discovered that net houses are even more efficient than certain high-tech greenhouses".

Despite the fact that controlled farming technologies are a hot topic in the UAE, an official stated the country is hoping to be an early investor and entrant in new food production. 

He stated that as a center for innovation, the government is eager to encourage non-traditional production methods such as soilless farming, food grown in labs utilizing alternative nutrients, and so on. "To solve the food security challenges of the country, we're looking at ways to recruit entrepreneurs, inventors, and arid agricultural technology companies." 

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