Wednesday June 19th, 2024
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ReFarm is Building the World’s Largest ‘Vertical Farm’ in Dubai

The ‘GigaFarm’ will transform waste streams into fertiliser, massively reducing running costs for indoor agriculture.

Scene Now UAE

ReFarm is Building the World’s Largest ‘Vertical Farm’ in Dubai

UAE-founded enterprise ReFarm has announced plans for its GigaFarm project, which may just become the largest ‘vertical farm’ in the world at 83,000 square metres. To be located at the aptly named Food Tech Valley in the desert just outside Dubai, the high-tech food production centre will use LEDs to grow plants, stacked on top of eachother to maximise efficiency in the 12-metre tall space. Crucially, the project also transforms waste streams such as food scraps and sewage into compost and clean water which it then uses to feed the plants, massively reducing running costs incurred by purchasing fertiliser.

This is not the first vertical farm in Dubai; a 31,000 square metre indoor facility had already been installed at Al Maktoum Airport in 2022, producing over a million kilograms of leafy greens per year.

The new GigaFarm, with nearly three times the capacity, has the potential to replace up to 1% of the UAE’s food imports, growing vegetable seedlings, herbs and spices in a carefully temperature and humidity-controlled environment. With these measures, plants are grown in alternative organic substrates instead of soil, and water usage can be reduced by up to 98%. 

With the UAE importing more than 85% of its food products, this leaves it vulnerable to supply chain disruptions, such as those caused by the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic. For the Emirates, increasing its ability to produce food domestically is an important step in future-proofing the country’s food security, whilst diversifying the country’s income streams.

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