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Dubai to build world’s largest vertical farming facility

Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) and the US-based Crop One will jointly invest US$40mn to build the world’s largest vertical farming facility near Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central

The construction of the facility is scheduled to start in November 2018 and seen to be completed by the end of 2019. The first products are expected to be delivered to Emirates Flight Catering’s customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges, in December 2019.

According to EKFC, when complete, the vertical farm facility will cover 130,000 sq ft and have a production output equivalent to 900 acres of farmland. At full production, the facility will harvest about 2,700kg of high-quality, herbicide-free and pesticide-free leafy greens daily, using 99 per cent less water than outdoor fields.

The proximity of the farm to the point of consumption also substantially reduces carbon emissions associated with transportation. It will also focus on ensuring the quick delivery of the fresh products, reaching customers immediately after harvest, aiming to maintain high nutritional value.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline, said, “Today’s announcement is an important milestone for the Emirates Group, for Dubai, and for the UAE. This investment to build and operate the world’s largest vertical farming facility aligns with the UAE’s drive for more agricultural self-sufficiency.”

Sonia Lo, CEO of Crop One Holdings, further commented, “We are farmers using the most sophisticated plant science and proven business efficiencies to provide market-leading consumer products every day. Our selection after a 10-month search by EKFC is a validation of our successful business model that uses patented technology and processes to optimise crop yields and facilitate hyper-growth.”