Home » Debut of the world’s largest R&D indoor vertical farm in Abu Dhabi

Debut of the world’s largest R&D indoor vertical farm in Abu Dhabi

by Mohammad Ghazal

AeroFarms, a Certified B Corporation and world leader in indoor vertical farming, officially unveiled AeroFarms AgX, its newest cutting-edge indoor vertical farm, focused on bringing innovative Research and Development (R&D) to the UAE and the Middle East.

AeroFarms AgX is advancing sustainable controlled environment agriculture (CEA) and indoor vertical farming to help address broader global agriculture supply chain challenges.

The world’s premier, state-of-the art R&D indoor vertical farm is focused on the latest developments for indoor vertical farming, innovation, and AgTech. The facility is supported by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) as part of its goal to create sustainable investment opportunities to further next generation agriculture in arid and desert environments.

At 65,000 square feet, AeroFarms AgX is the largest indoor vertical farm of its kind for research and development in the world, leading the way in breakthrough innovations to solve some of the world’s most pressing agriculture challenges. AeroFarms AgX has already made several key hires locally and will employ over 60 highly skilled engineers, horticulturists, and scientists for its high-tech laboratories conducting organoleptic research and precision phenotyping, phytochemical analysis, as well as research on next-generation machine vision, machine learning, robotics, and automation.

AeroFarms AgX plays a key role in Abu Dhabi’s AgTech ecosystem by working with local companies and universities on research projects to tackle problems of agriculture within desert and arid climates.

The Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening began with a keynote address by Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Saeed Hareb Almheiri, UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, included a Collaboration Agreement signing with Silal, and concluded with an inaugural First Bite of greens, led by David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms, and a tour of the leading R+D projects happening at AeroFarms AgX.

“AeroFarms has been expanding globally for both our commercial and R&D indoor vertical farms, leveraging our growing expertise and proprietary technology platform that can help solve a broader array of agricultural challenges,” commented David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms. “We are incredibly proud of the amazing international turnout and support at the highest levels for our Grand Opening of AeroFarms AgX, and our ongoing partnership with ADIO reflects our bigger commitment to help transform agriculture, accelerate innovating cycles, and commercialise new products for the region and the world.”

Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, Acting Director General of ADIO, said: “Abu Dhabi has made it a priority to advance technological solutions that further economic progress for the region and beyond, and AgTech falls perfectly into this category. ADIO’s mission is to help innovative companies like AeroFarms start, scale, and succeed in Abu Dhabi by providing access to the emirate’s innovation ecosystem and infrastructure. We’re excited for AeroFarms to start the next phase of its journey and contribute to solving global agriculture challenges from its advanced facility in the UAE capital.”

One of the goals for AeroFarms AgX is to be a hub of innovation, bringing together key strategic partners like Cargill and Foundation for Food & Agriculture (FFAR) Precision Indoor Plants (PIP) Consortium for R&D collaboration. To this end, AeroFarms signed a formal Collaboration Agreement with Silal, advancing earlier exploratory work under a Memorandum of Understanding. David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms and Mr. Salmeen Obaid Alameri, CEO of Silal participated in the Signing Ceremony. The collaboration is expected to focus on improving the genetics and seedling quality of vegetable and fruit varieties to become more resilient and tolerant to extreme growing conditions. The quality of a seedling is an essential factor for crop establishment, growth, and yield. The partnership will also focus on evaluating and testing crops that have large consumer demand including tomatoes and peppers. The trials and experiments on the crops will be conducted at AeroFarms AgX.

Mr. Salmeen Alameri, CEO of Silal, said this collaboration with Aerofarms marks a milestone in developing an ecosystem for AgriTech innovation towards effective long-term agriculture practices in Abu Dhabi. “This partnership aims to support farmers in Abu Dhabi and the UAE more broadly to maximise their potential by deploying advanced technologies to improve the quality of crop varieties.” Research and development are at the heart of everything we do at Silal, and we want to ensure that Abu Dhabi’s agricultural sector continues to grow sustainably. Silal is proud to partner with AeroFarms, and through this collaboration, Silal will continue to support farmers and local food production.”

”AeroFarms is excited to partner with world-class leaders like Silal that is part of ADQ to create innovative agricultural breakthroughs to improve the food system in the UAE given how much food is currently imported and the challenges of growing outdoors in this arid environment,” commented David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms. “This partnership is representative of how our growing technology platform can help address a wide range of traditional agriculture challenges compounded by climate change and supply chain challenges.”

AeroFarms will also be hosting its 2nd Annual AeroFarms AgTech Innovation Summit at the Rosewood Hotel in Abu Dhabi on February 16, 2023, bringing together over 24 speakers and over 750 participants from over 60 different countries to discuss the future of food and agriculture. The Summit will include keynote addresses by Eng. Abdulla Abdul Aziz AlShamsi, Acting Director General of ADIO, Sonny Ramaswamy, President and CEO of Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and former Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, and AeroFarms CEO and Co-Founder David Rosenberg. Panels will be moderated by Becky Anderson, Managing Editor, CNN Abu Dhabi & Anchor, and Kelsey Warner, Future Editor of The National UAE.

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