A casual conversation with my mother during a grocery shopping trip amid the pandemic made me aware of the importance of food security in harsh environments. Furthermore, the climate crisis has never been more accurate. It took a global shutdown for the earth to heal. If we hope to salvage the future, we must go natural now.
Currently, the UAE imports 90 per cent of its agricultural produce. The idea of Al Aliyo Hydrofarms was conceived with a mission to reduce the farming sector’s dependence on imported animal feed and promote sustainability and self-reliance.
The livestock farming industry globally has no standardised parameters; that’s why it’s known as one of the most polluting industries and an unsustainable form of agri-farming.
Al Aliyo Hydrofarms is changing this equation by providing fresh, green fodder of barley, corn, wheat, and alfalfa. We have a daily growth and harvest capacity of 15,000Kg grown via hydroponics.
Hydroponics is a culmination of two Greek words: hydro — meaning water and ponos meaning labour. It means growing plants in water rather than inert soil. Hydroponic farming eliminates the dependence on climatic conditions, seasons, and soil. Plant production occurs in a monitored sterile environment without any human interference. Hence, the product grows faster, uses less water, and is fertiliser and pesticide-free.
Hydro farm produce is easier to harvest and has higher nutritional value. Hydroponic fresh fodder invariably results in healthier livestock. Animals have better gastrointestinal health, and there are lesser chances of ulcers, colic, acidosis, and laminitis. Moreover, feeding fresh grass results in healthier weight gain, better hydration, and improved conception rates. There is also increased milk yield and fat composition.
We believe in making a difference and are invested in viable long-term solutions. Despite growing premium produce, our hydroponic fodder is economical and affordable compared to the imported feed currently available.
My mum and I established the company in January, 2021, on the core DNA values of quality, affordability, transparency, and growth. We, a mother-daughter duo, consciously spent an entire year in the set-up and on extensive research and development to ensure the finest economic and sustainable produce.
We pooled our collective expertise and experiences to set up the facility and its production process, and commercial production started in January, 2022. In our one year of operations, we have built our niche in the farming sector. We are working towards bringing the change we want to see in the world. We believe in the cause, which comes across in our simplistic business offering.
Al Aliyo Hydrofarms’ vision aligns with the UAE national agenda to enhance food security and strengthen the food supply chains. We aim to contribute to the UAE government’s food security efforts by supplying home-grown green fodder to farms. Furthermore, our five-year plans looks at making a holistic difference in the UAE’s agriculture sector in sync with the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy of 2051 through sustainable agricultural practices and efforts. ■
The writer Managing Director, Al Aliyo Hydrofarms