Food security is one of the biggest motivators for the high tech city to invest in the Gulf region. The UAE itself is suffering from a huge lack of food security as it imports 80% of its own food following bans in regional imports due to high levels of pesticide residue.
In the middle of the desert in the United Arab Emirates, tomatoes are grown thanks to US entrepreneurship and Dutch innovation. On the 24th of November Pure Harvest celebrated the successful first harvest and retail market entry of its tomatoes from its inaugural high-tech greenhouse in Nahel, United Arab Emirates. During the event Minister of State for Future Food Security, Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Al Mehairi, and Dutch ambassador Frank Mollen shared inspiring words and even tasted the tomatoes right from the branches in the greenhouse. Pure Harvest aims to be part of the solution to the region’s growing food security, water conservation, and sustainability challenges.
Dutch companies involved are: Certhon Greenhouse Solutions, Priva, Koppert Biological Systems, Hatenboer Water, Royal Brinkman, RijkZwaan.
“Pure Harvest Smart Farms is the embodiment of the water-food-energy Nexus. As a local start-up, Pure Harvest truly expresses the vision of the Netherlands of sustainability through innovation. We are proud that a total of 7 Dutch companies are involved in this project. This farm is a great example of what the Netherlands has to offer, and it is initiatives like these that will bring the UAE towards the goal of mitigating climate change, and promoting sustainable food production. Our Dutch model of the Golden Triangle, in which government, knowledge institutes and companies work together, has led to many innovations in the fields of agriculture, water and energy, and the synergies (or ‘nexus’) between those fields. Today Dutch companies continue to develop innovations and new technologies, not only in the Netherlands, but across the world in different environmental contexts. In the Gulf region we have recently launched our new campaign ‘Dutch Connection in the Gulf - Uniting Water, Energy, Food’, that offers exciting new opportunities for our cooperation with the UAE. We have been partners with the UAE for many years, and are here to stay”, said Frank Mollen, Dutch Ambassador to the UAE.
In such an arid harsh climate, while constantly battling with a limited water supply, it is essential that innovations such as controlled climate growing facilities are utilized in order to maximize food sources. Pure Harvest company plans to develop a portfolio of CEA (controlled environment agriculture) technologies including vertical farms and contained based growing locations to help battle water and food scarcity and provide a wide range of fresh produce.
The Dutch high-tech of Certhon used at Pure Harvest enabled approach to arid climate agriculture and its strong project team offers a realistic and much-needed solution for improving food security across the Gulf, as well as a means not just to maintain domestic agriculture, but to profitably expand it – all while preserving the region’s precious remaining freshwater aquifers. This kind of sustainable domestic agriculture is a critical component of any successful post-oil diversification strategy for the GCC region.
Pure Harvest Smart Farms is a regional Dutch innovator in sustainable agriculture, focused on the production of premium quality fruits & vegetables in the extreme climates of the Arab Gulf region. They wanted year-round production of fresh and healthy vegetables, locally grown, to Dutch standards. With the use of the semi-closed greenhouse, the produce will become year-round available for the local market in UAE. Pure Harvest Smart Farms is the first to implement the SuprimAir technology in the Gulf Region.
SuprimAir for Pure Harvest
Pure Harvest opted for the SuprimAir concept, where the use of conditioned air and over-pressure means that there is always a perfect climate to grow a healthy and clean product all year round. Through the application of over-pressure, computer-controlled efficient ventilation and cooling and the non-use of pesticides, healthy, local food can be produced in a sustainable way. In this perfectly balanced situation, the yearly yield to a traditional greenhouse can easily increase with +15%. Local produce becomes available in the summer months for the UAE, with the same uniform quality as any other season. With the aid of a hydroponic drip-irrigation, including complete re-use of irrigation water, water use is limited to the minimum.