Desert-tech – controlled environments, smart irrigation, remote management – for farming in extreme environments is gaining momentum and investment. Silal, Abu Dhabi’s new fresh food and agritech company, recently announced that it is investing is AED 200 million to upgrade 80 local farms in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, part of a wider initiative to strengthen the AgTech ecosystem in the country. Silal is discussing opportunities for UK companies with desert-tech solutions, in an Agri-Tech Express event on 12th January 2022.
As Silal works with a network of over 900 growers, service providers, retailers, and regulators it is uniquely positioned to support companies looking to establish or expand in the Middle East.
Smart irrigation for 80 farms
The investment by Silal, aims to increase production volume and quality, improve technology adoption across local farms, promote sustainable agricultural practices, and contribute to the national agritech strategy.
Under this programme, Silal will provide 80 farms with a new 1 Ha (hectare) greenhouse or nethouse facilities, fitted with smart irrigation and crop monitoring systems, that will double the yield, ensure better quality produce and more sustainable farming practices. Silal will work closely with farmers to define crop plans that maximise farms’ profitability and will provide training to farmers on operational best practices.
ADIO at REAP
AgTech is one of the strategic clusters identified for inward investment as part of Abu Dhabi’s national objective to increase food security. The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) participated in the International Cafe, at REAP and is supporting innovative companies in agriculture to establish activities in Abu Dhabi through financial and non-financial incentives.
Salvatore Lavallo, Acting Head of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) at ADIO, comments: “It is very clear that the degree of change that is required within food and agriculture systems, and the pace with which that change needs to be delivered, requires new ways of doing things.
“New agriculture and renewable technologies can combine to make the desert climate ideal for agriculture. Technologies that use sun for energy and reduce water consumption will transform Abu Dhabi food production capability and reduce reliance on imported food. Our goal is to place Abu Dhabi at the forefront of these technologies and an exporter of technology to other desert countries.”
Farming in extreme environments
Silal is working closely with farmers and local food suppliers to boost production and ensure consistent access and delivery of nourishment for the people of UAE and is supporting the development of an enabling ecosystem for AgriTech in Abu Dhabi. It is conducting research through partnerships and collaborations with the R&D sector to develop implementable AgriTech solutions.
The AgTech ecosystem in Abu Dhabi has benefited from an USD 273M programme to develop the desert and climate solutions in Abu Dhabi, and pioneering companies include:
- Aero Farms – A global leader in transformational aerophonic framing technology, to provide local and fresh products year round.
- Madar Farms – UAE founded Madar farms who are revolutionising vertical farming, to create more sustainable methods of growing food
- RDI Responsive Drip Irrigation – developers of an irrigation system for plants to self regulate water delivery
- RNZ – which is opening a new R&D Centre to develop fertilizer technology.
A new AgTech Park project by ADQ aims to accelerate sustainable local food production and position the UAE as a hub to supply high growth markets across the Middle East and Africa.
Agri-Tech Express with Silal: Farming in extreme environments: Challenges and Opportunities in the UAE
Wednesday 12th January 2022 @ 10:30 am – 11:30 am