Dubai will soon be home to the world’s largest hydroponic farm.

According to the press release, the new indoor vertical farm is a collaboration between Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC), a subsidiary of The Emirates Group that provides food for Emirates Airline and all other airlines at Dubai International Airport, and U.S.-based vertical farming and sustainable technology platform Crop One Holdings. Both firms invested $40 million USD towards the world record-breaking joint venture.

Upon completion, the 130,000-square foot facility, the equivalent of 900 acres of farmland, will bring on three U.S. farms to produce three tons of herbicide and pesticide-free produce daily that will be served on 105 airlines and in 25 airport lounges. According to Crop One, the world’s largest vertical farm should be capable of producing a total of 5.3 tons of leafy greens every day.

Not only will Dubai’s new hydroponic farm use less land than traditional farming methods, it will also use less water. Crop One claims that the sustainable technology will use just 320 gallons of water and 100 square feet of land to produce the same amount of leafy greens that 827,640 square feet of land and 250,000 gallons of water would produce using traditional farming methods.

“This investment to build and operate the world’s largest vertical farming facility aligns with the UAE’s drive for more agricultural self-sufficiency, a vision which began with the late His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father. The introduction of ground-breaking technology at the facility also enhances Dubai’s position as a global innovation hub.” Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Group, said in a statement.

Because hydroponic farms work without the need for large quantities of soil, chemicals, and sunlight, it could be an efficient way of helping regions with little arable land, like the UAE, become less reliant on imports. According to Gulf News, the desert nation currently imports 80 percent of its produce. Local produce grown in sustainable hydroponic farms will help the UAE reduce carbon emissions associated with transportation and save money on the cost of importing food.

This is not the UAE’s first venture into new farming technology. Last May, SEED Agriculture, an innovator of agriculture methods and technology, announced it would set up the largest hydroponic farm in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.

Construction of the world’s largest hydroponic farm is slated to start in November and should be complete by the end of 2019.


Image Credit: Emirates