Emirates Flight Catering takes up vertical farming

Monday, 09 July, 2018

Emirates Flight Catering takes up vertical farming

By December 2019, the first products from its newly announced vertical farm are expected to be delivered to Emirates Flight Catering’s customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges.

Claimed to become the world’s largest vertical farming facility, when complete the facility will cover 130,000 square feet. Being built near Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, at full production the facility will harvest 2700 kg of herbicide-free and pesticide-free leafy greens daily — a production output equivalent to 900 acres of farmland. The facility will use 99% less water than outdoor fields and the proximity of the farm to the point of consumption will mean that carbon emissions associated with transportation will be substantially reduced.

Construction is scheduled to start in November 2018 and will take approximately one year.

The US$40 million project is a joint venture between Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) and Crop One Holdings, a leading vertical farm operator.

“Today’s announcement is an important milestone for the Emirates Group, for Dubai and for the UAE. This investment to build and operate the world’s largest vertical farming facility aligns with the UAE’s drive for more agricultural self-sufficiency, a vision which began with the late HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the UAE’s founding father. The introduction of groundbreaking technology at the facility also enhances Dubai’s position as a global innovation hub,” said His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

“As one of the world’s largest airline catering operations, Emirates Flight Catering constantly looks at innovation, and ways to improve our productivity, product and service quality. Introducing the latest technology to our operations, we secure our own supply chain of high-quality and locally sourced fresh vegetables, while significantly reducing our environmental footprint. We are pleased to partner with Crop One, the industry’s leading grower, packer and distributor, and a successful company that shares our corporate values. Together we look forward to delivering a best-in-class product and excellent value to our customers and stakeholders,” said Saeed Mohammed, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Flight Catering.

“Our proven business model has demonstrated profitable commercial production longer than any other major vertical farmer,” said Sonia Lo, Chief Executive Officer of Crop One Holdings. “We are farmers using the most sophisticated plant science and proven business efficiencies to provide market-leading consumer products every day. Our selection after a 10-month search by EKFC is a validation of our successful business model that uses patented technology and processes to optimise crop yields and facilitate hyper-growth.”

Image: (from left to right) Saeed Mohammed, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Flight Catering, and Sonia Lo, Chief Executive Officer of Crop One Holdings, after signing the joint venture agreement.

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