His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said during his tour that the unique initiative reflects the UAE's commitment to food security Image Credit: Twitter/@DXBMediaOffice

Dubai: His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, toured Emirates Crop One (ECO 1), the world’s largest vertical hydroponic farm that recently opened in Dubai. The facility is also known as Bustanica.

Accompanying him on the tour were Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the UAE, and Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

Speaking during the tour of the facility, Sheikh Mohammed said the unique initiative reflects the country’s commitment to food security by fostering sustainable food production systems and resilient agricultural practices. The UAE has maintained the highest levels of food security with one of the world’s most comprehensive plans to address this vital issue, he added. The UAE will continue to make the right investments in technologies and people to make food production and supply more agile and sustainable, Sheikh Mohammed said.

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Largest catering venture

Developed in a joint venture between Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC), one of the world’s largest catering operations serving more than 100 airlines, and Crop One, an industry leader in technology-driven indoor vertical farming, the $40 million facility is spread over an area of 330,000 square feet.

Sheikh Mohammed said Emirates Group has made significant contributions to achieving the UAE’s vision of being a leader in shaping the future of humanity. The world’s largest vertical farm in Dubai is an embodiment of the UAE’s goal of generating solutions for the world’s greatest challenges and advancing innovation for creating a sustainable and prosperous tomorrow, he added.

Located near Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, the newly opened hydroponic facility in Dubai is geared to produce more than 1 million kilogrammes of high-quality leafy greens annually, while requiring 95 per cent less water than conventional agriculture. At any point in time, the facility grows in excess of 1 million plants, which provides an output of 3 tonnes per day. The leafy greens grown in the facility, which include lettuce, arugula, mixed salad greens and spinach, will be used for catering for passengers on Emirates and other airlines. People in the UAE will be able to buy the produce at stores under the Bustanica brand.