Is vertical farming UAE’s next high-growth industry?

The UAE landscape has always stood out for its best-in-class gleaming skyscrapers, among them the tallest ones in the world. And now, a new set of vertical structures is entering this space and breaking records on heights.

Vertical farms are catching on in the UAE. Just recently, AeroFarms debuted AgX, a 65,000 square feet R&D vertical farm in Abu Dhabi and said to be the largest of its type in the world. Last year, Bustanica made a splash with its own vertical farm in Dubai - and also one of the biggest of its kind anywhere. (In Saudi Arabia, there are similar ventures in the making, and their backers are sparing no effort in going mega-scale with them.)

Clearly, vertical farms in the UAE are taking on super-sizes and meeting a demand for fresh produce grown organically and nearest to the target consumers. These projects also help - or will do so - in the country’s food security priorities by reducing reliance on imports where needed. All lessons that the pandemic has taught the world through a period when food prices escalated because of supply issues.

But why are vertical farms taking off, literally, in the UAE and Saudi Arabia? Ali Naqash Abbasi is the Farms Operation Manager at Sharjah’s VeggieTech Farms, which made the history of sorts by cultivating roughly 150,000 croci Sativa bulbs (saffron) from the Netherlands in vertical farms located at Al Zubair.


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