AeroFarms plan biggest vertical farm in Middle East

  • February 7, 2023
  • William Payne

Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, one of the largest in the world, and US-based AeroFarms plan to build and operate in Saudi Arabia the largest indoor vertical farm of its kind in the MENA region. It will utilise the latest technologies with a planned annual production capacity of up to 1.1 million kgs of crops. Vertical farming is expected to boost regional food supply through increased production of locally produced high-quality crops. The agreement will aimed at supporting the growth of the country’s agriculture sector and localising technological solutions, to support Saudi Arabia’s positioning at the forefront of vertical farming regionally.

The implementation of indoor vertical farming will require no arable land and is anticipated to result in significantly higher yields and using up to 95% less water versus traditional field farming.

The partnership is expected to enable sustainable, local sourcing of high-quality crops all year round, grown using AeroFarms’ proprietary smart agriculture technology (“AgTech”) platform, which helps solve broader supply chain needs in the industry. The joint venture plans to build and operate several farms across the region in the next few years.

The partnership aligns with the Fund’s strategy, which focuses on developing and enabling the capabilities of key sectors, including food and agriculture, which will contribute to improving trade balance, localise technologies, develop industries and the overall growth and diversification of the Saudi economy. PIF is investing to localise new agricultural technologies that can benefit the local private sector, expanding its market reach and positioning Saudi Arabia as a leader in vertical farming.

Majed AlAssaf, Head of Consumer Goods and Retail, MENA Investments Division at PIF, said: “The agreement with AeroFarms will lead to the establishment of indoor vertical farms in Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region, increasing regional reliance on locally produced, high-quality crops grown in a sustainable way using the latest technologies. PIF is enabling the growth of the food and agriculture sector and localising technology that can benefit private sector industry participants.”

David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms, commented: “Our mission is to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, and we created AeroFarms to help solve the greatest agriculture challenges and increase food resiliency around the world. We are excited to partner with PIF to build our first large-scale commercial farm in Saudi Arabia, where the growing conditions are challenging with limited access to fresh water and arable land, and we envision building together smart indoor vertical farms throughout the broader MENA region.”