Vertical farming is boosting the UAE's crop-producing capacity, helping the country build a sustainable future. According to statistics, the UAE imports 80 per cent of its food, which is a major challenge for the country's food security. To address the situation, steps are being taken to restructure the food supply chain.
Vertical farming, a practice of growing local fruits and vegetables with minimal resources, is currently making waves.
"Vertical farming is the future of sustainable agriculture in the UAE. We import a huge amount of goods, and need to find ways of being not only more sustainable but more self-sustaining as well, meeting local demand through local production," said Mustafa Moiz, managing director of Uns Farms, a local indoor hydroponic farm growing fresh, locally produced leafy greens with no chemicals or preservatives.
"We're able to offer a wide variety of salad leaves, kale leaves, various types of lettuce and basil leaves at 30 to 40 per cent less than the cost of imported produce. Once the 30,000sq-ft facility reaches its full capacity, we'll be producing about 1.5 tonnes per day and, therefore, meet the growing demand in the country," added Moiz.
Agrotech company VeggiTech, on the other hand, focuses on addressing the key challenges of traditional farming - soil, temperature and water - through its design of "protected hydroponics" and "grow-light-assisted hydroponics".