"Every day, we are working towards achieving our vision and establishing the UAE as a global AgTech leader," Abdulaziz AlMulla, Founder and CEO of Madar Farms noted. Recently, Madar Farms announced its collaboration with IGS to enhance food security in the GCC region. “We are happy to be partnering up with IGS. We want to create a lasting change by providing a holistic approach to sustainability.”
Tomatoes under LED
Madar Farms has some exciting plans coming in 2021. By the end of this year, the company will be operating a commercial-scale indoor tomato farm using LEDs only, to grow its tomatoes. The 5000 m2 facility will be located at the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, where Madar Farms is expecting to grow up to 1 ton of tomatoes a day. Next to tomatoes, the facility will enable to triple its microgreens produce. Abdulaziz said that “It’s a milestone for us as we will be able to significantly increase our supply and presence in the UAE.”
Although 90 percent of food is imported into the country, supermarkets and restaurants are stocking and using local-grown produce. “We are already seeing the impact that indoor farming is having in the UAE,” says Abdulaziz. “It shows that the UAE is going towards the right direction, solving the food and water challenges. We’re excited to be part of providing the solution and changing the agriculture landscape in the UAE and throughout the region.”
Tackling food security
“Every day we are providing a holistic approach to sustainability by helping to tackle food and water security challenges in the UAE and the GCC region. Being based in the UAE with a hot climate and little rainfall, it’s extremely challenging to use traditional farming methods to grow produce,” Abdulaziz affirms. He explained that this is the reason why Madar Farms uses CEA technology and other farming techniques such as vertical farming. Being able to grow year-round in a controlled environment is crucial to tackle food security challenges especially considering that 90% of food is imported into the UAE.
“More importantly, it’s a step forward for people in the UAE to enjoy local high-quality produce. We know that the population will grow significantly around the world in the coming years and AgTech is the solution that can help meet the demands of food supply,” Abdulaziz adds.
New R&D facility
Abdulaziz says that Madar Farms’ work is always aligned with the government’s objectives. The company, therefore, works closely with the wider industry to help meet the demand of the food supply. “We are firm believers in R&D, that is why we are building a new Research and Development facility that will see us quantify production output measured against environmental inputs (water and electricity).”
Given R&D is a core part of Madar Farms, Abdulaziz affirms that the company is not in favor of one growing method but also uses other methods which allow them to grow year-round, no matter the climate. “It’s crucial that we can provide a continuous supply of nutritious food every day.”
“As Madar Farms, we understand that we have a responsibility to raise awareness about what we do. This way, we can help informing people that choosing UAE-grown produce is a more sustainable choice than imported produce,” Abdulaziz notes. Therefore, education and community engagement are a core part of our business, demonstrated by Madar Farms’ ‘Sustainable Futures’ program. According to the company’s CEO, it gives the opportunity to UAE students to explore the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ of AgTech. “At the same time, it also empowers the next generation with the awareness, knowledge and skills to create a sustainable future for everyone.”