Bustanica has opened the doors to the world’s largest hydroponic farm, backed by an investment of US$40m. The facility is the first vertical farm for Emirates Crop One, the joint venture between Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC),a catering operation serving more than 100 airlines, and Crop One, an agtech company focusing on vertical farming.
Located near Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, the 330,000sqft facility is geared to produce more than 1,000,000 kilograms of high-quality leafy greens annually, while requiring 95% less water than conventional agriculture. At any point in time, the facility grows in excess of 1m cultivars (plants), which will provide an output of 3,000 kgs per day.
On-flight meals addition
Passengers on Emirates and other airlines can look forward to forking these delicious leafy greens, including lettuces, arugula, mixed salad greens, and spinach, onboard their flights from July. Bustanica is not just changing salads in the sky, but UAE consumers will soon be able to add these greens to their shopping carts at the nearest supermarkets. Bustanica also plans to expand into the production and sale of fruits and vegetables.
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group said: “Long-term food security and self-sufficiency are vital to the economic growth of any country, and the UAE is no exception. We’ve specific challenges in our region, given the limitations around arable land and climate. Bustanica ushers in a new era of innovation and investments, which are important steps for sustainable growth and align with our country’s well-defined food and water security strategies.
“Emirates Flight Catering constantly invests in the latest technologies to delight customers, optimize operations, and minimize our environmental footprint. Bustanica helps secure our supply chain, and ensures our customers can enjoy locally sourced, nutritious produce. By bringing production closer to consumption, we’re reducing the food journey from farm to fork. Congratulations to the Bustanica team for their remarkable achievements so far and for setting global standards and benchmarks in agronomy.”
Craig Ratajczyk, Chief Executive Officer, Crop One said: “After significant planning and construction, and navigating the unforeseen challenges of the pandemic, we’re thrilled to celebrate this tremendous milestone alongside our joint venture partner, Emirates Flight Catering. It’s our mission to cultivate a sustainable future to meet global demand for fresh, local food, and this first large format farm is the manifestation of that commitment. This new facility serves as a model for what’s possible around the globe.
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