Dana Global
The partnership aims to attract agriculture technology to Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem and address challenges such as resource scarcity Image Credit: Dana Global

Abu Dhabi-based desert tech venture builder and investment platform Dana Global (DANA) announced a new partnership agreement with Silal – an ADQ subsidiary. The partnership is focused on diversifying food product sources and stimulating the manufactured and agri-food sectors.

The partnership will address salinity, irrigation, crop optimisation, post-harvest and supply chain, pest management, fertilisation, and systems efficiency, said officials from both companies. DANA and Silal are also initiating pilots to regenerate agricultural land and reclaim currently unusable areas from the desert while implementing carbon credit incentives for farmers in the UAE.

These initiatives are part of regional sustainable development efforts as the country prepares to host COP 28 next year, they added. Katie Wachsberger, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of DANA, said, “The Middle East has a clear and present risk of major food insecurity, and doing nothing is not an option. With this partnership, we can support the incredible entrepreneurs we work with, mostly women from the region.”

“Complementing the beta sites we are already operating, we plan to launch new pilots and collect vital data by fostering ecosystem growth and encouraging entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality,” Katie added. All projects aim for the feasibility of scaling across small and locally owned farms in developing markets, with cost efficiency as a priority.

Production efficiency 

She added that the partnership aims to attract agriculture technology to Abu Dhabi’s ecosystem and address challenges such as resource scarcity, local production, and food security. The International Monetary Fund’s Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, recently announced that over 141 million people in Arab countries are at risk of food insecurity.

The partnership’s goals support the UAE’s public policy - the National Food Security Strategy - to adopt advanced agricultural methods to promote food security. It also comes as the availability of basic foodstuffs and its potential impact on societal stability grows more negative.

In June, DANA signed an MoU with Masdar City on launching a ‘beta site’ - greenhouses and feasibility testing facilities providing Agritech founders with vital testing grounds to grow their ideas to the product stage. Currently under construction - conducted by Alterneit Lifestyles Pvt Ltd. - the site is equipped with infrastructure, with plans to host five pilots starting from January 19, 2023. The most promising candidates within DANA’s portfolio of companies will graduate to later-stage pilots within Silal’s programme offering.