Dutch minister Kamp of the Ministry of Economic Affairs visited the Estidamah research centre during his two-day working visit to Saudi Arabia. This is the second largest research complex for horticulture in the world, realized in a partnership between Sabic (one of the largest chemical companies in the world), Wageningen University and Research Centre and the Bom Group. Sabic commissioned Wageningen UR to formulate a tender and asked to create a design for the entire research program.

The Estidamah project is a greenhouse complex of 8500 m² under construction, which is being realized in the Riyadh Techno Valley by the Bom Group. All existing and new cooling techniques, from low-tech to high-tech, will be tested here to examine which of these techniques leads to the most efficient use of water and energy in the cultivation of various crops, in order to achieve a sustainable way of growing in the warm climate of the Arabian Peninsula.

In cooperation with a Wageningen UR consultant, who also joins the board of Estidamah, simultaneous (laboratory) tests will be conducted. This research is taking place in 21 glasshouse compartments, with techniques ranging from the pad and fan cooling customary in Saudi Arabia to the closed greenhouse principle whereby production is expected to be three times higher per m2 and 98% water is saved. The innovative nature of this project gave the Minister sufficient reason for a visit with a tour by the vice president of Sabic and Bram van der Kooy, CEO of the Bom Group, among others.

Visit the website www.bomgroup.nl for more information about this project.