Thursday 11 April 2019
Crop One Holdings, which says it is the world’s largest vertical farm operator through its FreshBox Farms brand, has opened a new regional office in Dubai to strengthen the company’s global presence and lay the foundations for a long-term expansion strategy. The opening of Crop One’s Dubai office follows the company’s June 2018 announcement of a USD 40 million joint venture with Emirates Flight Catering to build the world’s largest vertical farming facility in Dubai. The 130,000 square foot controlled-environment facility will produce three US tons (2,700 kg) of high-quality, herbicide- and pesticide-free leafy greens, harvested daily, using 99 percent less water than outdoor fields. The first products will be delivered to Emirates’ customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges, in December 2019. Ming Zhu, Regional Development Manager for Crop One, has relocated from the company’s headquarters in San Mateo, California, to Dubai. His presence will boost Crop One’s ability to conduct business in and expand within the MENA and APAC regions. The UAE imports an estimated 85 percent of its food needs, costing the country more than USD 3 billion per year, as less than 5 percent of the region’s land is considered arable. Hyper-productive indoor vertical farms built close to the point of consumption, such as the one being constructed by the Emirates Crop One joint venture, are a major step forward for the region to secure its own supply of leafy greens, while significantly reducing the UAE’s environmental footprint. The UAE is actively encouraging agricultural innovation as a means to improve the region’s self-sufficiency. In July 2018, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment agreed to establish 12 vertical farms in the city of Dubai, allocating 7,600 square meters of land to the growing industry.