UAE – The ‘GigaFarm’ project, situated within the visionary Food Tech Valley in UAE, is poised to become a game-changer in the realm of sustainable food production.

The initiative, overseen by UAE-founded enterprise ReFarm, unveils plans for an expansive 12-meter-high, 83,612-square-meter facility, aiming to produce an astonishing 3 million kilograms of food annually.

“This is not just about size; it’s about innovation,” emphasizes Oliver Christof, CEO at Christof Global Impact, the company behind ReFarm.

The GigaFarm operates on unique principles, integrating cutting-edge technologies to address pressing environmental concerns while meeting the growing demand for sustainable food sources.

According to the UN, food systems contribute significantly to global greenhouse gas emissions, with agriculture and land use accounting for two-thirds of these emissions.

To counteract this impact, the GigaFarm proposes a revolutionary approach, utilizing advanced technologies to repurpose waste streams—including food scraps and sewage—into valuable resources such as compost, animal feed, clean water, and energy.

“This holistic approach aims to reduce the carbon footprint of food production while fostering a more sustainable ecosystem,” Christof explains.

By adopting efficient production methods and leveraging vertical farming techniques, the GigaFarm promises to slash fertilizer usage and significantly decrease emissions associated with food distribution.

With a focus on proximity to consumers, the GigaFarm not only ensures fresher produce but also aims to replace up to 1% of the UAE’s food imports, thereby enhancing food security in the region.

Integral to the GigaFarm’s vertical farming solution is IGS, a Scottish company renowned for its innovative ‘growth towers.’

These towers, resembling multistory car parks stacked with thriving plants, serve as controlled environments meticulously regulating water and fertilizer distribution.

“The modularity of our growth towers allows for seamless scalability,” highlights Andrew Lloyd, CEO of IGS. “With 200 towers consolidated, the GigaFarm concept becomes a reality.”

The venture couldn’t be timelier as the UAE vertical farming market is on a steady upward trajectory.

With a market size of USD 36.25 million in 2022 and a projected CAGR of 4.05% from 2023 to 2028, vertical farming, especially in Dubai, has emerged as a dominant force in agriculture.

The impetus behind this growth is multifaceted. Water scarcity, limited arable land, and high food import dependency have propelled the adoption of vertical farming as a sustainable solution in the UAE.

Employing techniques such as hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics, vertical farming in the UAE operates through building-based structures and shipping container farms, catering to diverse agricultural needs.

Moreover, governmental support and collaborative efforts with organizations like the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industries underscore the commitment to fostering this sustainable agricultural practice.

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