The facility includes a growth room, precision houseplant room, rapid breeding room for growing trees
The world’s largest research and development (R&D) indoor vertical farm of its kind has opened in Abu Dhabi’s Mussafah Industrial Estate.
The 65,000-square-foot state-of-the-art research and development facility is New Jersey-based AeroFarms’ first indoor vertical farm outside of the United States. Launched with the support of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office, AeroFarms AgX is focused on bringing innovative R&D to the region.
AeroFarms AgX general manager Fadi Sbati told Khaleej Times that the facility is designed to solve some of the world’s most pressing agricultural challenges.
“We’re trying to replace whatever happens in nature with differences in weather, sunrise, temperature and humidity, and try to simulate it indoors to make plants grow healthily,” Sbati said.
The facility consists of a growth room, a precision indoor plant room, a tree growth rapid multiplication room, a research and development environment growth room, and a research and development laboratory space.
“We do not produce in this factory. This is entirely dedicated to research and development. Scientists, researchers and engineers will try to find suitable algorithms and solutions for perfect growth for the industry. We are experimenting with about 30 types of green leafy vegetables and lettuce, which is a special product ,” Sbati noted.
Currently, a team of 12 scientists and engineers, including some Emirati, work at the facility. AeroFarms AgX will employ more than 60 engineers, horticulturalists and scientists for its high-tech laboratories, conducting sensory research and precise phenotyping, phytochemical analysis, and research into next-generation machine vision, machine learning, robotics and automation.
AeroFarms’ indoor vertical farming technology provides the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive while using 95% less water and using no pesticides.
Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, congratulated the AeroFarms team on establishing their base in Abu Dhabi and stressed the importance of growing food free of chemicals and pesticides.
The facility is supported by ADIO as part of its goal of creating sustainable investment opportunities to promote next generation agriculture in arid and desert environments.
project. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, Acting Director General of ADIO, said: “Abu Dhabi has made it a priority to advance technological solutions to facilitate the development of the region and beyond. economic progress in the region, and AgTech falls squarely into that category.”
AeroFarms AgX will play a key role in Abu Dhabi’s AgTech ecosystem by collaborating with local companies and universities on research projects to address agricultural issues in desert and arid climates.
“AeroFarms has been expanding our commercial and R&D indoor vertical farms globally, leveraging our growing expertise and proprietary technology platform to help solve broader farming challenges,” noted AeroFarms co-founder and CEO David Rosenberg .
AeroFarms has signed a collaboration agreement with Silal focused on improving the genetics and seedling quality of vegetable and fruit varieties to increase their resilience and tolerance to extreme growing conditions. The partnership aims to focus on research and development to commercialize new crops such as tomatoes and peppers.
Salmeen Alameri, CEO of Silal, said the collaboration marks a milestone in developing an agritech innovation ecosystem in Abu Dhabi for effective long-term farming practices.