EMIRATES Flight Catering (EKFC) has announced a $40 million joint venture with America’s Crop One for the world’s largest vertical farming facility at Dubai World Central. According to Emirates, the project is meant to secure the airline’s own supply chain of high quality and locally-sourced fresh vegetables.
“This investment to build and operate the world’s largest vertical farming facility aligns with the UAE’s drive for more agricultural self-sufficiency, a vision which began with the late HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father. The introduction of ground-breaking technology at the facility also enhances Dubai’s position as a global innovation hub,” said Emirates Airline and Group chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.
At completion, the vertical farm facility will cover 130,000 square feet, but have a production output equivalent to 900 acres of farmland.
Full production harvest is expected at three US tonnes (2,700 kg) of “high-quality, herbicide-free and pesticide-free leafy greens daily”, using 99 per cent less water than outdoor fields.
The construction of the facility is scheduled to start in November 2018 and will take approximately one year to complete, Emirates has stated.
The first products are expected to be delivered to Emirates Flight Catering’s customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges, in December 2019.
“Introducing the latest technology to our operations, we secure our own supply chain of high quality and locally-sourced fresh vegetables, while significantly reducing our environmental footprint. We are pleased to partner with Crop One, the industry’s leading grower, packer and distributor, and a successful company that shares our corporate values. Together we look forward to delivering a best-in-class product and excellent value to our customers and stakeholders,” said Emirates Flight Catering chief executive officer Saeed Mohammed.
Crop One chief executive officer Sonia Lo said: “Our proven business model has demonstrated profitable commercial production longer than any other major vertical farmer. We are farmers using the most sophisticated plant science and proven business efficiencies to provide market leading consumer products every day. Our selection after a 10-month search by EKFC is a validation of our successful business model that uses patented technology and processes to optimize crop yields and facilitate hyper-growth.”