ⓘ Featured image: A file-photo of Abdula Aziz Al Mulla, Co-founder & CEO, Madar Farms; Credits: The National
Abu Dhabi Investment Office (Adio) has invested $100 million (Dh367m) to bring four agriculture technology companies to the emirate as part of government efforts to attract high-skilled talent and cutting-edge research.
The four companies are Aerofarms, Madar farms, RNZ, and RDI who are tasked to build agritech research and development facilities and production centres in Abu Dhabi as reported by The National on Thursday (April 9). ADIO brought this as an initiative to explore how arid-climate countries can spruce out benefit from technologies.
ADIO offered a package of cash and non-cash incentives to the companies including rebates of up to 75 per cent on R&D expenditure upon commercialisation of solutions developed in Abu Dhabi, it said.
David Rosenberg, the co-founder and chief executive of US-headquartered AeroFarms, told The National,
“There are few parts of the world where there’s the belief of ‘we can do anything’,”
“Most places in the world, they don’t even want to be second. They want to be fifth or sixth, get it tried and true then come here, they say. In the UAE, you have boldness of ‘let’s do it bigger, better’ and that was very attractive to us.”
Sharing the deep insights to the plan, Tariq Bin Hendi, Director General of ADIO said,
“It’s in line with Abu Dhabi’s long-term ambitions through these programmes to attract technology, R&D, high-skilled labour … but also to use this as a platform to expand, trial and refine these technologies and export them to the world with Abu Dhabi having led these initiatives,”The National
ADIO will support the four companies for the next six to seven months to set-up commercialisation, as Hendi to The National,
“We’ve got 24,000 farms here, so based on that, what kind of technologies can we use to drive efficiencies in crop yield, water usage and so on,”
The respective tasks for the four companies
These companies will form avenues and output adjacent to the benefaction of plentiful land, natural heat, competitive energy pricing, access to research universities and skilled talent.
▸ AeroFarms will conduct research to form ways to tackle the challenges of desert agriculture from its new 8,200 sq. mt. facility in Abu Dhabi. The vertical farming centre which is working to grow its first crops by mid-2021, will employ more than 60 engineers, horticulturists and scientists.
▸ Madar Farms will build the world’s first commercial-scale indoor tomato farm to use only LED lights, located at Kizad (Khalifa Industrial Zone). The company was also set to scale up the commercialisation of micro-green growing to help provide a consistent local food supply that responsibly uses the region’s natural resources.
▸ RDI is tasked to develop an irrigation system to transform water usage in UAE agriculture and to conduct research trials to increase crop yields in sandy soils and non-arable land.
▸ RNZ will set up a research and development centre to formulate and commercialise ‘agri-inputs’ that will help grow more with less.
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