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November construction start for Emirates' vertical farm in Dubai

The facility in Dubai South's Aviation District, it is said, will be the world's largest upon completion

The $40m indoor farm will grow leafy greens for passengers of Emirates airline.
The $40m indoor farm will grow leafy greens for passengers of Emirates airline.

Following an agreement with Emirates Flight Catering, Dubai South will host what both parties say will be the world’s largest vertical farm, with construction scheduled to start in November 2018.

The catering arm of the Dubai airline giant will build the farm through a memorandum of cooperation (MoC). The project will be built in a $40m (AED $126.8m) joint venture with Crop One Holdings, the parent company of US container group FreshBox Farms.

The facility, according to UAE state news agency WAM, will span 1.2ha, with the deal marking "an important milestone in the two companies’ long-standing partnership".

READ: Dubai Ruler opens Emirates airline's 16ha training academy

Construction of the facility is scheduled to start next month and take approximately one year to complete.

At full production, the vertical farm facility will harvest 2,700kg of herbicide- and pesticide-free leafy greens daily, using 99% less water than traditional farms.

The proximity of the farm to the point of consumption will also reduce carbon emissions associated with transportation, while also speeding up the delivery of the fresh products that can reach customers within hours of harvest.

READ: Dubai to build 12 vertical farms in 'food security' push

Speaking on the news, Saeed Mohammed, chief executive of Emirates Flight Catering, said: "By building our vertical farming facility in the Aviation District, we will deliver our fresh products from farm to fork within hours of harvest, while significantly reducing our environmental footprint."

The first products are expected to be delivered to Emirates Flight Catering’s customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges, in December 2019.

The news comes three months after the UAE's Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MoCCAE) and Shalimar Biotech Industries inked an agreement to build the vertical farms on government-owned land plots in Dubai.

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Construction Week Middle East 11th Jan 2020
Jan 16, 2020