Dubai: Saudi Arabia is getting into vertical farming in a big way, with a new joint venture to create such a network of farms across Saudi Arabia. The entity – called simply as the ‘Vertical Farms Company’ – is also going after a record – to build the Kingdom's largest indoor vertical farm in Riyadh. It will be 16 metres high.
This farm - with a built area of 4,500 square metres - is scheduled to be ‘fully operational’ by Q4-2023, and create jobs and ‘healthy, sustainable produce to the local community’. The alliance partners are agtech companies Mowreq Specialized Agriculture Co. and YesHealth Group.
Total investment in the Mowreq and YesHealth Group JV, Vertical Farms Company, is valued at more than SR100 million ($28 million). The project has the backing of Saudi venture capital and funds.
- The planned Riyadh vertical farm will be the tallest in Saudi Arabia - and the plan is to aim for the Middle East record too. Dubai currently hosts the world's tallest farm, in the Bustanica.
- The Saudi farm will supply 2,000 kilograms of leafy vegetables - daily - to consumers in Riyadh and the surrounding areas.
- The location is 20 kilometres from central Riyadh.
Mowreq already supplies vertically farmed produce to consumers in Jeddah, under the brand name ‘Janafarm’. YesHealth operates a ‘profitable’ large-scale indoor vertical farm in Taiwan, and cooperates across several indoor vertical farms in Europe. Its combined operations produce over 2,500 tons of leafy vegetables annually.
The Riyadh farm will be operated jointly by Mowreq and YesHealth Group in a 3-year technology transfer phase, training local talent to take over the long-term operations. "We built Saudi Arabia's first indoor vertical farm and now we're building the Kingdom's largest indoor vertical farm," says Modar Hisham Nazer, co-founder of Mowreq and Chairman of Vertical Farms Company. "This massive, new farm that we're building in Riyadh, will enable more of our compatriots to benefit from locally-produced Janafarm products, which are always clean, fresh, and free of pesticides."