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Strengthening ties with Qatar to grow in the Middle East

The Arabian Peninsula has an extremely hot and arid climate and Qatar is no exception. There are sands and dunes in the north, sandy hills in the south — with a rocky desert in the middle. In the summer months, temperatures can reach 50 °C. The country has no rivers and obtains most of its freshwater by desalinating seawater. As a result, Qatar has extremely unfavorable conditions for growing edible plants such as vegetables, berries, and herbs. 

Although Qatar ranks among the richest countries in the world in terms of per capita income, it relies heavily on imports to feed its population. Local agriculture only covers 10% of the country’s needs, and food security remains high on Qatar’s agenda. With its abundant financial resources, the country can use state-of-the-art technology to grow crops. Due to this, local, year-round cultivation of vegetables, berries, and herbs on vertical farms is one of the best solutions for this region.

“By working with iFarm, Qatar increases its share of locally grown products, and we can showcase how our technology can be used in a region with extreme climatic conditions. The use of translucent greenhouses can be a problem given the hot climate: they need to be shaded and cooled. Vertical farming, on the other hand, is a perfect match. This is an excellent tool that can help Qatar achieve its ambitious food security goal," says Alex Lyskovsky, president of iFarm.

LuLu Group International is iFarm’s signature partner in the Middle East. It is a multinational corporation that operates one of the largest retail chains in Asia and the Persian Gulf. LuLu is among the fastest-growing chains in the world and employs more than 57,000 people around the world. iFarm is in talks with LuLu Group’s representative office in Qatar regarding building vertical farms right in the supermarkets. At least one side of the pilot farm is designed using a transparent material so that customers can see the process of growing and harvesting plants from “smart” beds. 

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