Israeli agritech co Vertical Field in UAE project

Guy Elitzur

Vertical Field has signed an agreement with Emirates Smart Solutions & Technologies on pilot vertical farms.

Israeli agritech company Vertical Field, which specializes in vertical farming, has signed an agreement with Emirates Smart Solutions & Technologies (ESST) a company that develops innovative agricultural projects in the Persian Gulf, to deploy pilot vertical farms as a first stage to full-scale deployments in the United Arab Emirates.

Vertical Field develops vertical agricultural farms that enable crops to grow in the city. Vertical Field’s technology enables produce to grow on a bed of soil (geoponically) inside repurposed shipping containers. Vertical Field claims that its advanced technologies enable high-quality crops to grow quickly and efficiently in optimum conditions without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. These customizable urban farms can grow a range of fresh crops for supermarkets, restaurants, urban farmer’s markets, and distribution centers. Vertical Field says that its technology is more efficient and less wasteful than conventional agricultural methods, using 90% less water, and growing precise quantities of produce in a controlled environment.

Produce inside Vertical Field’s containers can therefore grow 365 days a year, are not limited to seasonality constraints, weather conditions, extreme climate events, or geographic location. The farms are modular, expandable, and moveable, and can be managed automatically. Produce is grown in a sterile container with minimal human interference. Crops that are currently grown in the farm include: several varieties of lettuce, basil, parsley, kale, mint, and more, which are sold at competitive prices.

Under the UAE agreement, Vertical Field will conduct a pilot project that will ascertain the most suitable crops for the local market. The first stage of the project will be launched in the United Arab Emirates, and is expected to expand into a multimillion dollar partnership that will include deployments in additional states of the Gulf region. The first farm will be installed in Umm Al Quwain as part of a research, development, and training center, which is expected to support additional projects in the rest of the Gulf states.

According to market research firm Markets and Markets, in 2020, the vertical farming industry reached $2.9 billion, and it is expected to reach $7.3 billion by 2025. Approximately 80% of the agricultural consumption in the Emirates is imported from around the world, equivalent to over $10 billion (2018). The rising costs of shipping food as well as an increased desire for food security and regional independence has played a strong role in the development of the ESST-Vertical Field partnership.

Vertical Field CEO Guy Elitzur said, "This collaborative project is a first-of-its-kind partnership that offers Vertical Field’s innovative agricultural technologies to the Emirates and the Gulf Region. The Makalde Group brings forty years of experience and wide knowledge in the field of agricultural inputs and resources and we bring the innovative technology.

"Arid desert regions face many challenges surrounding the production of high-quality agricultural produce at low prices. With the help of various agricultural technologies and new developments we believe that we can successfully align the demands of the market with competitive prices without compromising quality- and most importantly with increased access and availability."

Maher Makalde, CEO and Partner of ESST said, "Our goal is to establish food security that is independent of imports and to develop a high-quality agricultural infrastructure that reaches the retail market."

Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 27, 2021

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