Up to 12 vertical farms will be built on government land in Dubai to improve the Emirates' ability to grow its own food.
The UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) and Shalimar Biotech Industries signed an agreement to build the vertical farms on government-owned land plots in Dubai.
Up to 7,600m² of land will be given to Shalimar Biotech Industries to set up 12 farms, a water desalination plant, air conditioning, LED lighting, and automatic irrigation systems.
MoCCAE will also supply logistical support and services to Shalimar to help the food innovation project get off the ground as part of its five-year commitment to the initiative.
Under the terms of the deal, the collocation will explore new agricultural tools and technologies that can help the UAE improve food security by reducing its dependace on imports. The facility will also be a place of education where local agricultural students and researches can come to study the pros and cons of indoor farming.
MoCCAE added the unnamed farming facility would also cut down on waste in the agricultural industry, as well as mitigate the risk of infectious diseases and the spread of agricultural pests.
Another important aspect of the project is that it will mitigate dangerous emissions caused by the farming sector.
"The agreement leverages synergies between MoCCAE and the private sector to encourage innovation in agriculture, with the aim of enhancing the UAE’s food security and diversity," said MoCCAE Assistant Under-Secretary for the Regions Sector at MoCCAE, Sultan Alwan.
Alwan signed the agreement with the founder and chief executive officer of Shalimar Biotech Industries, and added: "As vertical farming has a significantly smaller carbon footprint than traditional farming, ventures such as this one align with the country’s drive to improve its agricultural self-sufficiency."
Meanwhile, Emirates Flight Catering, the Emirates unit responsible for in-flight food, revealed the world's largest vertical farm at a cost of $40m (AED146m).
It signed a joint venture agreement with US-based Crop One Holdings to set up a 12,077m² farm that see 2.7 tonnes of leafy greens harvested per day.