Inside the UAE's indoor saffron farm

“We overtook this farm only last year, in April 2021, when it was basically a barren land, with just one greenhouse,” says Masood Hashim, group CEO, SNASCO Holding — Veggitech’s parent company — while walking us to the control room where saffron corms were being cultivated. “We also have four other farms, one of which is right opposite this facility and is currently under construction. It will soon be used to grow strawberries.”

Hyper-controlled environment
As we swiftly made our way inside the indoor farm, wrapped in blankets, we were warned by the staff that the temperatures would drop once we went in.

Putting our shoes through the automatic shoe cover dispensers placed just outside the door, we were ready to dive deep into the world of crocus sativus (also known as saffron crocus) — the purple-colored flowers through which saffron is obtained.

The temperatures inside dropped to 12 degrees centigrade, which is the optimal night-time temperature required by the saffron corms or ‘bulbs’ to cultivate the flowers. “The daytime temperature can go up to 17-20 degrees centigrade,” mentions Ali Abbasi, one of the senior farm managers in charge of the saffron project.


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