Emirates unveils the world’s largest vertical farm in Dubai. It is built in partnership with Crop One Holdings, a leader in the development of technology-driven indoor farming. Built for the Emirati carrier, the vertical farm is located in Dubai near Al Maktoum International Airport and covers an area of over 100,000 square meters.
The vertical farm is called Bustanica, which means “your garden” or “your orchid” in Arabic. The 100,584-square-metre facility was built with an investment of $40 million and spans three floors.
It can produce more than one million kilograms of leafy greens annually, representing a daily production of up to three thousand kilograms. Currently, the vertical farm grows crops such as kale, spinach, arugula, and a mix of green plants. Emirates plans to expand the range of crops in the future to include new types of fruit and vegetables.
“Long-term food security and self-sufficiency are vital to the economic growth of any country, and the UAE is no exception. With limited arable land resources and a challenging climate, we have specific challenges in our region,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman, and CEO of Emirates Airline and Emirates Group.
Vertical farming is a relatively modern concept and is being developed using advanced techniques. Bustanica Farm, for example, uses hydroponic cultivation, which uses 95 percent less water than traditional farming practices. The farm’s closed system is designed to circulate water among the plants to maximize its use and efficiency. When water evaporates, it is recovered and recycled back into the system, saving 250 million liters of water annually compared to traditional outdoor farming methods.
The farm’s production has zero impact on the world’s limited soil resources, reduces water dependence and the year-round harvest is not affected by weather conditions or pests. Consumers who buy Bustanica vegetables in supermarkets can consume them directly from the original packaging; washing alone could damage or contaminate the leaves.
The farm operates based on powerful technologies – machine learning, artificial intelligence, and advanced methods – and is supported by a dedicated in-house team of agronomic experts, engineers, horticulturists, and scientists.
Thanks to Crop One’s expertise in the world of vertical farming, Bustanica products will be grown without the use of pesticides, chemicals, herbicides, or fungicides. This largely eliminates the risk of consumers being exposed to food and fungal diseases.
“After a challenging period of planning, construction, and overcoming obstacles caused by the pandemic, we are delighted to celebrate this important milestone with our partner, Emirates Flight Catering. Our goal is sustainable production to meet the global demand for fresh and local ingredients. This first large-scale farm confirms our commitment and serves as a model of what can be achieved around the world,” says Craig Ratajczyk, CEO of Crop One.