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Revolutionising crop growth with first-ever organic waste to soil enhancing technology

Abu Dhabi waste management company, Tadweer recently announced a US$2.5mn pilot project with UK start-up, Aquagrain, which has developed a unique soil enhancing technology that harnesses organic waste 

Aquagrain’s innovative method converts organic food industry waste into a biodegradable polymer that absorbs and releases water, thus serving as food and drink reservoir for plants. With the support of a US$27.2mn R&D funding launched by Abu Dhabi-based investment and holding company ADQ, the project will see Abu Dhabi's first-ever commercial scale Aquagrain production facility built with organic food industry waste. 

The organic waste is currently sent to landfill, converted into Aquagrain and used to produce food and reduce water and fertiliser use in farming and horticulture, diverting carbon away from the atmosphere and putting it back into the land. Harnessing organic waste enables crops to be grown in arid land, sandy soils or pots using upto 50% less water and inorganic fertilisers. 

In early 2023, Aquagrain was declared one of the four winners of the UAE’s FoodTech Challenge (FTC), a global competition for the world’s most innovative, exciting start-ups. Organised by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and Tamkeen, the FTC provides a platform for solutions that address food security and ensures sustainability across the food supply chain and the planet. 

Tadweer's managing director and CEO, Ali Al Dhaheri expressed pride regarding their partnership with Aquagrain, highlighting that the technology significantly enhanced the economic and innovative value of circularity in the waste management sector. “Together, we are confident we can have a significant impact on sustainable and regenerative farming, delivering measurable progress towards reducing emissions, whilst increasing food and water security in the UAE and beyond,” Dhaheri said.

Aquagrain CEO Paul Smith believes that their technology could help meet the five key challenges to UAE food security and identified Tadweer as an ideal strategic partner to help us deliver Aquagrain’s impact not just in the UAE, but ultimately across the MENA region and the wider world.

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