The UAE currently imports 85% of all food due to food insecurity in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. Yet, the population of the GCC is expected to grow and tourism is also rising, therefore, the food challenge is likely to worsen.
Through vertical farming, IREPfarm is set to combat this challenge. It allows high-quality produce to be grown locally 365 days of the year and it also makes better use of the region’s limited water resources.
Food Security in the Middle East
Agriculture is an integral part of the Middle East’s economy and due to the region’s suffering from harsh environments, water shortages, and minimal arable land, food security has always been important. Over time, the food security issues have intensified due to:
- Unsustainable diets
- Food waste
- Economic shocks
- Shifting oil costs
- COVID-19 pandemic
Despite the political and economic instability that the region faces at times, food security is a top priority.
Several countries are heavily reliant on food imports and experiment with new methods for food security. Advances in AgriTech, e.g., vertical farming and hydroponic pave the way to more productive and innovative solutions.
What is Vertical Farming?
Vertical farming is the process of cultivating plants indoors under controlled conditions in a series of stacked levels. The process is scalable, energy-efficient, and uses less water and land than traditional farming.
Adopting such a strategy will increase access to safe, nutritious, and affordable food. A sound strategy will create thousands of jobs, financial opportunities, and environmental benefits. The main advantages are that it requires 95% less water than traditional methods. High-quality produce can also be grown all year, enhancing local production.
By 2051, the UAE aims to be a world leader in innovation-driven food security. Innovation is the future of agriculture in the Middle East, given the many benefits. At IREPfarm, we are keen to help as many clients as possible to leverage AgriTech.
IREPfarm helps clients overcome issues they face when setting up an AgriTech solution and we offer a turnkey solution for vertical farming. We can also supply world-leading technology through our partnership with Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS).
We look forward to leveraging IREP and IGS’ expertise and experience to develop its product offering. Over the last three years, we have developed a strong understanding of the sector, the challenges, and clients’ requirements. As food security is set to be high on the Middle Eastern agenda, we expect to see several modern technologies emerging in 2022 and beyond.
Food Security Trends in 2022 and beyond
The UAE government is attracting technology providers to the region, setting the sector up for a bright future.
Introducing indoor farms into our food supply chains will be vital to food security. It will also be crucial to create models where different technologies work towards zero waste and a more efficient supply chain.
Climate change is expected to be more intense, frequent, and prolonged with extreme events such as droughts and floods which will negatively impact food security in the most vulnerable regions. These consequences impact food production and the availability of produce and left unattended, access to food, food quality, nutrition, and stability of food systems will head for disaster. Thus, climate change will continue to impact food security worldwide in 2022.
Our Global Head of IREPfarm, Christina Porter, is the tip of our Agritech spear. She is responsible for originating, planning, and executing new client opportunities with IREPfarm.