New research says a growing importance is being given to vertical farming across the Gulf region
A growing importance is being given to vertical farming across the GCC and is generating interest and increased investments from regional and overseas players, according to a new report.
Orbis Research said the region’s vertical farming market is expected to reach $1.21 billion by 2021 at a compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 26.4 percent from only $380 million in 2016.
It said the UAE is leading this change and has upcoming projects facilitated by the government as well as private players to help increase food security in the region.
These include the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment allotting space for 12 vertical farms to be built by Shalimar Biotech Industries, and the world’s largest vertical farm for Emirates Airlines by Crop One Holdings Inc.
With around 90 percent of food being imported in the UAE, territorial problems of water scarcity and small percentages of arable land, vertical farming is becoming increasingly vital to ensure food security within the region, the report added.
Mariam Al Mehiri, Minister of Future Food Security, also plans to create a “Food Valley” or a technology hub, dedicated to the development of food and farming automation.
The report comes ahead of AgraME 2019, a platform for the latest technology to be showcased to the regional agribusiness market.
Henry Gordon-Smith, founder and managing director of Agritecture who will be speaking at AgraME 2019, said: “The potential is certainly there to transform what has historically been a relatively small traditional farming industry into perhaps the most technologically advanced agriculture industry in the world.
“This means economic development, increased production of nutritious local produce, and lowered food costs, all with minimal water consumption and increased resilience to climate change and foreign markets.”
Samantha Bleasby, exhibition director of AgraME added that the show, which takes place in Dubai from March 5-7, is attracting key players in the industry such as Certhon, Agrotonomy, Veggitech, Wuxi, iGrowths Technology Co Ltd, Ozorganic Urban Farming and Van der Hoeven.