The catering company of airline Emirates invests $ 40 million in the construction of the largest vertical farm in the world. In this facility, which is located next to the airport in Dubai, the caterer wants to harvest 2,700 kilograms of leafy vegetables every day.
Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) is investing with the American company Crop One. Together they set up a joint venture for this. Crop One Holding is said to be the largest operator of vertical farms in the world.
According to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates Airline’s CEO, this investment is in line with the wish of the United Arab Emirates to become self-sufficient in agriculture. The introduction of this pioneering vertical farming technology also improves Dubai’s position as a global innovation hub.
As soon as it is ready, the vertical farm has an area of approximately 12,000 square meters. According to Crop One, the yield will soon be equal to the yield that usually comes from 360 hectares of conventional horticultural production.
When the production is fully operational, the facility must produce 2,700 kilos of high-quality herbicide and pesticide-free leafy vegetables every day. The water use is then 99% less than when the leafy vegetables would be grown in the open air.
Because the production is located right next to the location where the vegetables are used, namely in the meals for the airline passengers, the much CO2 emission is also saved by transport kilometres.
Besides, it guarantees the freshest vegetables that can be processed within hours of the harvest. The construction of the vertical farm will start in November 2018 and take about a year.
Expectations are that Emirates Flight Catering customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges, will receive the first products on their plate in December 2019.