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IGS signs deal with Madar Farms to enhance food security in GCC region

"Growing both full-cycle and starter plants both more efficiently and faster"

“We’re excited to bring in our technology into the Middle East so we can support Madar Farms as a local farmer and help them with their expansion," says David Farquhar, CEO of Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS). The UK vertical farming supplying company is set to enter the UAE market as a partnership deal with UAE growing company Madar Farms and various AgTech R&D experts. "Together with Madar, we’re planning to enable them to grow a wide variety of greens and extending this to tomato and potato production." 

'Better starter plants' 
According to David, the greatest benefit of the partnership with Madar is that it will enable the farms to grow both full-cycle and starter plants both more efficiently and faster, depending on crop. “Due to the climate conditions in the UAE, starter plants are either grown in greenhouses or imported from Europe. These starter plants have bad quality and consequently, up to 40% are never planted. With our support, Madar Farms will be able to grow starter plants in a vertical farm, which will lead to a much higher quality. Well over 95% of the vertically grown starters are fit for usage, so it will lead to a much more efficient process. In the region, this is one of the main challenges in growing, so that is the first thing we want to tackle.” 

IGS has a long history of partnering with local farmers and growers, providing years of research and development expertise. “We don’t undertake R&D for its own sake. We only grow if we know there is a serious market problem and we always run crop trials with major professional growers. We talk with partners and their customers to understand where the challenges are for their specific region.” The helpful news is that growers around the world seem to encounter similar problems everywhere, David finds.

“The availability of locally grown, viable and high-quality starter plants appears to be a major challenge everywhere, both in the UAE and in colder regions. But because of the desert climate, the strong winds and the extremely high temperature render most open field agriculture is near impossible. So to enter this region with our technologies is even more relevant. This partnership is an exciting development, extending our reach and supporting other economies.” 

The deal will introduce IGS's indoor growing systems to the UAE first and will help move forward Madar Farms’ vision to create sustainable food supply channels for a growing population while reducing demands on scarce water supplies. With five Growth Towers initially planned, each standing at six meters high, this offers a growing space of up to 1500m2 and the ability to produce up to 30 tonnes of crop per annum.

Driving food security 
According to David, the UAE government has announced a drive to deliver national food security by 2051, led by Her Excellency the Minister for Food & Water Security. 

“As the population in the UAE continues to grow and there’s more focus on sustainability, the new IGS system will help to meet this increasing demand and give UAE consumers more options to enjoy the best quality fresh locally-grown produce,” commented Abdulaziz AlMulla, Madar Farms Founder and CEO.

He added: “This is a very exciting time for both organizations and reinforces the need for precision-engineered vertical farming systems and the part they can play in feeding the expanding populations of the countries in the GCC.” 

Abdulaziz AlMulla and David Farquhar

The partnership will also allow a greater capacity for research and development, particularly in the propagation of tomato seedlings, which is a significant focus in the region. Madar Farms will utilize the high levels of precision in the IGS system to enhance early-stage quality seedling production which would then be moved into an indoor growing environment to complete the full growth cycle. This would ensure predictable growth of high-quality tomato plants with the greatest level of consistency and flavor, without using any pesticides. As the IGS system continually recycles water, it will also minimize water usage. IGS has recently partnered with experienced growers to undertake similar trials in its growing environments of strawberries and seed potatoes, with excellent results. 

IGS CEO, David Farquhar, commented: “In the UAE and wider GCC region, there has never been a more pressing need to identify and develop sustainable food supply chains, securing local resources and reducing the reliance on imports. We are delighted to announce this deal and to be working with Madar Farms, which is an organization perfectly aligned with our ambition to bring innovative new technology and approaches to growing in the GCC region and beyond.”

Late 2021-installation
Madar Farms has selected the IGS plug-and-play vertical farming platform after rigorous competitive market assessment to significantly enhance the quality and quantity of produce it can supply to businesses and leading retailers across the region. Initially, commercially sold produce will include a range of premium leafy greens and herbs, which will be enhanced by other crop varieties in the near future. 

The installation of the system for Madar Farms is due to begin later this year and the Growth Towers should be operational in November 2021. IGS collaborates with International Real Estate Partners (IREP) a multidisciplinary asset management services firm based in the UAE. In March IREPfarm was launched to introduce an end-to-end solution to introduce Agritech systems to the UAE and wider GCC. 


For more information:
Intelligent Growth Solutions
Kate Forster
+44 7787 534 999 

Madar Farms
United Arab Emirates, Dubai
Gold and Diamond Park, Building 5, Office 213, Dubai
+971 (0) 43311908