How VeggiTech contributes to UAE's agenda to build food and water security
VeggiTech is an agro tech company with the sole aim of disrupting the agriculture industry. VeggiTech focuses on addressing the key challenges of traditional farming – soil, temperature and water through its design of protected hydroponics and grow lights-assisted hydroponics. We have chosen the challenging conditions of the UAE to demonstrate the positive use of agro technology to create sustainable farms aligned to UAE’s vision of food security.
In the last 18 months, VeggiTech has built and is operating over 30 hectares of farms with protected hydroponics. It is in the process of going live with 4,500 sq meters of indoor vertical farms that employ grow light-assisted hydroponics. We produced over 1.6million kilograms of produce last year and this year (including the summer months), we are delighted to produce over 1.9million kilograms with over 500+ tones of organic produce from our farms between August 2020 and July 2021.
VeggiTech's produce utilises less than 10 per cent of the water used in traditional farms and is pesticide free. In addition, we have deployed technology for complete food transparency through QR codes that give complete visibility of the growing process of the vegetable produced in our farms.
VeggiTech's current operations and plans in H1 2021
VeggiTech is in the business of offering farming as a service, where it builds and operates digital smart farms that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly for our customers. With a team of over 160+ professionals; and one of the strongest agronomy and engineering teams in the region, we are poised for growth over the next 3 – 5 years.
In the first half of 2020, despite the COVID–19 circumstances we have signed contracts for 13,000 sq.ft. grow area of indoor vertical farms; and are building protected hydroponic farms of 80,000 sqft. You will experience buying live produce from our indoor vertical farm installations in all Sharjah Co-operative Society stores soon with the first one going live in Al Rahmaniya Mall, Sharjah, next month.
We opened our Helsinki, Finland, offices in March 2020; joined the Association of Vertical Farming (AVF) headquartered in Munich, Germany, where we have been invited to play a lead role in creating industry standards for Indoor Vertical farms world-wide.
VeggiTech was invited by the Ministry of Education and Food and Water Security Office to host a webinar series “Grow Your Food” for student in the Youth Summer Camps across July and August 2020. We live streamed the informative sessions from our farms providing insights on achieving food security through technology. The audience was segregated into three batches of 6 – 10 year olds; 10 – 14 year olds and 14 – 18 year olds.
We are currently in advanced discussions with private investors and government organizations in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi on large scale projects to make UAE food secure with good quality local food.
VeggiTech has recently signed up for designing and developing sustainable grow areas with major players that specialize in developing sustainable communities in UAE. This exciting development underlines our vision of bringing “grow” spaces close to our “living” spaces.
Sustainable agro - Economic model
Dubai SME, the agency of Dubai Economy, mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, collaborated with VeggiTech through their Innovation Accelerator program and commissioned it to install an Indoor Vertical farm in their Business Village campus in Deira Dubai (scheduled to go live in Q4 2020). This set-up would showcase the circular farm-to-fork economic model with the Indoor Vertical farm (IVF), growing green leafys, herbs and microgreens and these are converted into end consumer produce in the form of farm fresh salads / curated recipe packages.
We are upbeat on the current pipeline of projects (10M+ sqft of farms - protected hydroponics; 200,000+ sqft of Indoor vertical farms) to be signed in Q3 / Q4 2020 and these would start producing over 25million kgs of produce every year from 2021 - 2022. The optimal use of land assets combined with the reduction in water resources and pesticide free crops are an ideal example of using technology to align with UAE’s food security goals.
While the COVID – 19 circumstances are charting unprecedented scenarios across our lives; we, as the local farmers, were privileged to work with Sharjah Charity Association, Shurooq, The Noodle House and Dubai Police to support our heroes, our frontline healthcare workers and families, with over 20 tons of our farm fresh vegetables delivered contactless.
VeggiTech is privileged to play its role in this journey.