DANA Global has partnered with Silal - a subsidiary of ADQ focused on diversifying food product sources and stimulating the manufactured and agri-food sectors.
The partnership aims to attract agriculture technology and innovation to Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem and address major challenges such as resource scarcity, local production, and food security. DANA and Silal are committed to promoting homegrown innovation in Abu Dhabi, emphasizing the importance of pilots, trials, data collection, and entrepreneurship.
The partnership’s goals support the UAE’s public policy - the National Food Security Strategy - to adopt advanced agricultural methods to promote security, efficiency, and productivity – all of which are essential given climate risk and growing regional food demand.
It also comes as the availability of basic foodstuffs and its potential impact on societal stability grows more negative. The International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, recently announced that over 141 million people in Arab countries are at risk of food insecurity.
Katie Wachsberger, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of DANA, said: “We are excited to partner with Silal to advance much-needed Agritech solutions in the UAE and the wider MENA region. The Middle East has a clear and present risk of major food insecurity, and doing nothing is not an option.
“Via this partnership, we can better support the incredible entrepreneurs we work with - most of whom are women from the region. Complementing the beta sites we are already operating, we plan to launch new pilots and collect vital data to foster ecosystem growth and encourage entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality.”
The joint program will address salinity, irrigation, crop optimization, post-harvest, supply chain, pest management, fertilization, and systems efficiency. All projects aim for the feasibility of scaling across small and locally owned farms in developing markets, with cost efficiency as a priority.
DANA and Silal are also initiating pilots to regenerate agricultural land and reclaim currently unusable areas from the desert while implementing carbon credit incentives for farmers in the UAE - part of regional sustainable development efforts as the country prepares to host COP 28 next year.
In June, DANA signed an MoU with Masdar City on launching a ‘beta site’ - greenhouses and feasibility testing facilities providing Agritech founders with vital testing grounds to grow their ideas to the product stage. Currently, under construction - conducted by Alterneit Lifestyles Pvt Ltd. - the site is being equipped with cutting-edge infrastructure, with plans to host five pilots starting from 19 January 2023.
The most promising candidates within DANA’s portfolio of companies will graduate to later-stage pilots within Silal’s program offering.
Based in Abu Dhabi, DANA is a venture builder and investment platform for women-led desert tech start-ups, focusing on Agritech, Foodtech, water solutions, circular economy, and renewable energy. As the first female-founded accelerator in the Middle East, DANA’s mission is to empower MENA’s female entrepreneurs.