Dubai, UAE, August 09, 2018: CNN reports on the dynamic technology that has the potential to revolutionize the way Dubai sources its food. CNN visited Badia Farms, the first commercial indoor vertical farm in the region. Badia Farms uses hydroponics technology to produce 27 varieties of leafy greens without the need for soil, sunlight and chemicals.
Omar Al Jundi, Founder and CEO, Badia Farms explains how the vertical farm works: “We use special LEDs to mimic the sun. We use a lot of sensors, climate control systems to regulate these conditions… the irrigation, timings scheduling and the different nutrients.”
Vertical farming is gaining traction in the region as Emirates Airline is about to start building the world's largest vertical farm at Dubai World Central Airport. When it opens next year, it plans to produce 6,000 pounds of leafy greens per day for its catering department.
The ministry of climate change and environment has also assigned two acres of land for 12 vertical farms. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, United Arab Emirates told CNN: “The beauty of the Badia Farms and Emirates Airlines announcement opens the eyes of our business people and investors to the topic. You can't imagine the amount of interest we received, many business people are interested, they even are bringing international partners and international technologies and provide more and more lands. If they come with a business plan we are happy to support.”
Dubai imports approximately 90 per cent of its food but this technology provides the opportunity for greatly increasing home-produced crops. Thani Al Zeyoudi explains the ambitions for the farming and how ultimate aim is to begin exporting home produced crops throughout the region: “I am sure we are going to do it very soon. The distinguished thing about our crops is the quality. We will not only export the products but the technology after applying it here in the UAE.”
CNN hears that Badia Farms plans to double in size over the next few weeks and launch a similar vertical farm in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.