Agriculture specialist Sokovo to set up vertical farm in Dubai Industrial City

The UAE government has been prioritising food security and innovation in agriculture amid disruption to the food supply chain owing to the Covid-19 pandemic

AeroFarms' vertical grow towers on February 19, 2019, in Newark, New Jersey. - AeroFarms, founded in 2004, is the largest vertical farm in the world. The company is considered a pioneer of the sector. It has chosen to fully develop its own technologies which it exports around the world, with projects in China, the Middle East and Northern Europe, according to its co-founder Marc Oshima. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP) / TO GO WITH AFP STORY by Juliette MICHEL, "How I found the taste of my grandmother's soup in a salad factory"
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Sokovo, a company in Dubai specialising in high-tech agriculture, is setting up a vertical farm in Dubai Industrial City to produce thousands of tonnes of fruits and vegetables every year as the UAE takes measures to boost food security.

The indoor farm, which will span more than 92,000 square metres, will grow fresh kale, spinach, lettuce, tomatoes and melons, among other produce.

It will supply food to hypermarkets, hotels and top chefs across the country, Dubai Media Office said on Sunday.

“Food security is a national priority, and the expansion of technology-driven sustainable farming is vital to build and scale resilient production systems that can grow fresh and healthy produce,” Saud Abu Al-Shawareb, managing director of Dubai Industrial City, said. “It also catalyses investment and employment opportunities that contribute to our knowledge-based economy.”

He said the agreement moved the UAE closer to achieving the goals enshrined in the National Food Security Strategy 2051.

The UAE government has been prioritising food security and innovation in agriculture amid disruption to the global food supply chain amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020, the Abu Dhabi government said it would offer more than Dh110 million ($30m) in financial incentives to agriculture technology companies looking to set up operations in the emirate as part of its Dh50 billion Ghadan 21 accelerator initiative.

Last month, vertical farming company AeroFarms started construction in the capital on a 8,200-square-metre research and development centre, the largest in the world, aimed at advancing sustainable agriculture in arid climates.

Spread over an area of more than 5,000 hectares, Dubai Industrial City is divided into several zones with a focus on strategic sectors. The food and beverage site covers about 220 hectares and is home to more than 60 food and beverage manufacturers, including Barakat, Patchi, Almarai Group, Barakah Dates Factory and Lifco.

There are also a further 11 food production factories under construction, the company said.

Updated: July 11, 2021, 4:20 PM