Mohammed Bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, and Mariam Hareb Almheiri, Minister of State for Food Security all have attended the official opening of the Al Dahra BayWa Greenhouse in Al Ain (UAE).
The event also welcomed Khadim Al Derai, Vice President of Al Dahra Agricultural Company; Saeed Albahri Alameri, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority; Khalifa Ahmed Al Ali, Managing Director of Abu Dhabi Food Security Centre; and Frank Mullen, Dutch Ambassador to the UAE; along with several high-ranking officials.
The EUR40 million project is a joint venture between BayWa AG from Munich, Germany, and Abu Dhabi-based Al Dahra.
"Local for local", said the CEO of BayWa AG, Klaus Josef Lutz, "is an important instrument for further improving the sustainable supply of food to people worldwide in the face of climate change, population growth and decreasing agricultural area." He thanked all involved, local and international partners for the good implementation of this project in record time.
BayWa is also appreciated as an investor in the UAE. "This wasn't shown just by the support of public authorities during the planning and construction period, but also by the presence of senior representatives of the state," says Lutz.
Independent food production
"Facilities such as the Al Dahra BayWa greenhouse are essential to help the UAE achieve self-supporting food production and food security for its citizens," Almheiri confirmed. "The food industry is taking tremendous steps to import new technologies, innovative concepts and advanced know-how, all considered to be the basis for sustainable food security, and are among the pillars of food security strategies. In the UAE, we made sure that our National Future Food Security Strategy includes plans and initiatives to promote locally grown, technology-based foods."
Khadim Abdulla Al Darei, Vice President and Managing Director of Al Dahra Holding, emphasized in his speech that based on the very good experience with BayWa in the project realization, his company was available for further investment. CEO Lutz said he was talking about this and stressed that the global construction of climate greenhouses was part of the BayWa Group's specialty strategy. It focuses on special products for lucrative markets with long-term sales opportunities.
In March 2017, the joint venture between the two companies was signed. The goal is the efficient and resource-conserving cultivation of high-quality fruit vegetables, marketed locally. In September 2018, for the first time snack tomatoes were harvested from the first greenhouse and at the same time the second greenhouse was put into operation. Even before the start of production, the entire first harvest had been locally marketed, as there is a high demand for regionally and sustainably produced fruit and vegetables in the UAE.
The two facilities, which together employ 130 people, comprise around 10 hectares. The maximum harvest of 15 tons of tomatoes per week has already been reached at the end of October in the first climate greenhouse. By the end of the year, this production volume will be doubled in the second greenhouse.