ReFarm to build vertical ‘gigafarm’ in Dubai

Indoor vertical farm. Hydroponic microgreens plant factory. Plants grow with led lights. Sustainable agriculture for future food. 3d illustration.

Dubai’s Food Tech Valley project announced on Wednesday that it has signed an agreement with ReFarm, under which the consortium will build a ‘gigafarm’ capable of growing 3,000 tonnes of produce per year – which is enough to replace 1% of the UAE’s food imports.

According to a joint press release, the ‘circular’, ‘closed-loop’ farm, which will recycle more than 50,000 tonnes of food waste in order to grow and sustain two billion plants each year, will help to support the Gulf state’s goal of decarbonizing its food production.

The 87,000 square-meter site, which is expected to be fully operational by 2026, will utilize vertical farming technology developed by Edinburgh-based Intelligent Growth Solutions.

Reports also say that the facility will be 98% more water efficient than traditional farming methods, and that on-site technologies will facilitate the recovery of up to 90% of ammonia sulfate from wastewater, which will be used in plant fertilizers.

ReFarm, which was created by Dubai-based SSK Enterprises and process engineering solutions group Christof Global Impact, will begin construction work in the middle of next year.

The UAE’s trade minister, Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, welcomed the announcement, saying: ‘Rethinking our food production systems is a clear priority, and the decision of ReFarm to launch a facility in Dubai’s Food Tech Valley is a significant step forward for the development of a technologically advanced, low-carbon agricultural sector.’

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