Israeli vertical farm company Future Crops signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the United Eastern Group (UEG) from the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to consider the joint establishment of vertical farms in one of the first agricultural cooperations between Israel and UAE companies.
Vertical farms are indoor, multi-level facilities which optimize plant growth in a highly controlled environment, maximizing land usage and produce yields, which allows for pesticide-free produce to be farmed vertically within containers big enough to fit in a parking lot, using only one tenth the amount of water usually needed.
Future Crops announced the signing of the MOU, explaining that it will allow both parties to examine the establishment of a venture that will use Future Crops' vertical agriculture technology to establish a facility for growing various crops in the UAE.
UEG declared it will use its connections and expertise to find a suitable area that will be used to build the facility.
“By its very nature, Future Crops' technology is also suitable for countries whose climatic conditions are extreme and do not have the option of doing traditional agriculture," said Gary Greenspan, CEO of Future Crops explaining that in the UAE, the climate and the conditions of the area are problematic for agriculture, and that "there is an opportunity for a special cooperation that will make it possible to grow a wide variety of agricultural products."
"We know how to adapt the ideal conditions for each plant," Greenspan continued, "whether that it be in the Netherlands or in Dubai. I am happy that UEG trusts us and I am sure that together we will be able to grow and market to the Gulf's residents a quality-local agricultural product. "
If the project is implemented, the parties foresee that the products that will be made at the facility will be marketed in the UAE, but also sold to other countries, and that the UEG will work to locate potential customers to sell the products.Last month, Ra'anana-based Vertical Field signed an agreement with Emirates Smart Solutions & Technologies (ESST), an agricultural developer in the Persian Gulf, to deploy its proprietary vertical farms in the United Arab Emirates.
Within the agreement, Vertical Field will undergo a pilot program within the UAE, which will feature farms with some of the "most suitable crops for the local market."
The development of these vertical farms comes at the perfect time, with the coronavirus pandemic cutting off the produce supply chain on both local and global levels. And with the population still growing, and projected by some to reach 10 billion in around 30 years, the need to maintain a sustainable source of fresh produce has become a mounting concern.
Aaron Reich contributed to this report.