DANA Global ('DANA'), the Abu Dhabi-based desert tech venture builder and investment platform, announces its partnership with Agadir Horticultural Complex ('CHA') to jointly establish an innovation hub for resilient and eco-efficient agriculture in the Agadir region.
The new project's official opening and partnership signing ceremony in Agadir, Morocco, was attended by over 700 participants. Prominent attendees included Morocco's Minister of Agriculture, Mohamed Sadiki, Piet Adema, Dutch Minister of Agriculture, and Dr. Farid Lekjaa, Director of the Agadir Horticultural Complex. DANA was accompanied by a delegation of investors, academics, consultants, and startup founders from the UAE and Israel.
The Agadir region forms the heart of Morocco's agricultural industry and provides 9% of the national GDP while processing 90% of the country's fresh produce market - and is perfectly suited to scale up DANA's solutions. The region is also crucial to the government of Morocco's 'Génération Green' strategy to increase the country's food output.
Shirley Shahar, Co-Founder of DANA Global, commented: "Our partnership with the Agadir Horticultural Centre aims to bring a new innovation hub and center of excellence to Morocco and is a huge step for DANA. Two years ago, we decided to establish our base in Abu Dhabi - which has led the way in progressive food security and sustainability policy and acted as a hub for scaling solutions to the entire MENA region. Complementing our recent partnership with Silal, ADQ's agrifood arm, we want to contribute to a new R&D hub for agrifood solutions hosted by our partners from CHA and the Institute Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II.
"This new project is a milestone in DANA's efforts to scale up sustainable desert tech solutions to the region's largest markets. Agadir specifically harbors a huge potential for rapid adoption. The UAE and Morocco are ideal partners to jointly tackle food security, and DANA is proud to play a role in strengthening this cooperation."
Morocco and the UAE share a long heritage of trust and shared values, which provide a solid foundation to cooperate on the pressing issue of food security. The UAE has invested more than US$20 billion in Moroccan growth sectors over the past four decades.
The new hub's strategic goal is to boost agrifood and smart water solutions R&D, addressing the technological needs of Agadir's farmers to improve food security, food quality, and sustainability. Although Morocco is situated between two large bodies of water, the country's water production infrastructure only produces 20% of its water, missing out on huge potential. To meet growing domestic demand, this capacity will have to increase fast.
From an economic perspective, DANA and CHA will contribute directly to a resilient and eco-efficient agrifood infrastructure in MENA, establishing Agadir as a major export market to supply Gulf states with import needs - like the UAE.
DANA will operate an incubation and acceleration program, bringing technological know-how from the region's leading agritech ecosystems. The venture builder partners with Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II, a university based in Agadir specializing in agricultural research.
The project's solutions will benefit the residents of Agadir and help build a desert tech ecosystem in Morocco, bringing highly skilled employment opportunities to the rapidly developing economy, led by the values of sustainability, women's empowerment, and regional collaboration.