(MENAFN- Brazil-Arab News Agency (ANBA)) São Paulo – Furthering the sustainable food cultivation is one of the world's current challenges, and the country that hosts the COP28 climate meeting starting on Thursday (30), the United Arab Emirates, has making efforts towards this goal. An example is Bustanica, the world's largest vertical farm, UAE state news agency WAM reported.
Vertical farms grow produces on vertical layers indoors, an alternative in the face of the impact that climate change can cause on the traditional farming models. The Bustanica farm is a 31,000-square-meter three-floor facility that produces some 1,000 metric tons of food annually in separate rooms that accommodate plants in different stages.
Fellows: Providing plants with what they require
“Bustanica is a controlled environment agricultural modalized facility. Modular means that we are separated room by room, which gives us the versatility and adaptability to chop and change products within a controlled environment with the precision farming element precision farming, meaning that we can provide plants and cultivars with exactly the right elements of what they require at exactly the right time,” says Robert Fellows, production director of Bustanica. Pictured above, Fellows shows the farm to WAM reporters.
Everything from temperature to humidity, lightning, water and nutrients is monitored with precision – which maximizes growth and output, nearly eliminating any risk of contamination.“The biggest benefit that we have here, especially within this region, is that we can produce 365 days a year, so we're not governed by external factors such as heat, floods, droughts, pests,” says Fellows.
Layered production in the Bustanica farm
The Dubai-based vertical farm doesn't use pesticides, doesn't degrade the soil and grows more foods in a smaller area compared to traditional farming. From the seed to the first harvest, the process that takes some six weeks consumes up to 95% less water. Fellows explains that there are 45,000 plants in each room and that as they start to grow and develop into their last stages ahead of the harvest, they release a lot of humidity.“Our environmental systems remove the humidity through air exchange within the rooms. We then turn the humidity into what's called the condensate or a liquid form. We push the liquid format back into a water treatment building, which is where our recycling and our purification and cleaning of the water takes place. When that's done, the water then gets pushed back to the growing areas. This can reduce and does reduce our water consumption by up to 95%.”
Applied system maximizes output and growth
Bustanica, which is Arabic for“your garden” or“your orchard,” opened in June 2022, with an investment of approximately USD 40 million. It is the first facility of Emirates Crop One (ECO1), a joint venture between Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) and Crop One. Located closed to the Al Maktoum International Airport, the farm grows leafy greens and works to expand its product portfolio available in businesses across the country. It also supports the UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051 and Water Security Strategy 2036.
When asked about the challenges regarding climate change and food security, Fellows stresses that there has to be more of a focus around locally grown products, pointing out that the farm model in Dubai can be reproduced in other places.“Definitely transferable and definitely scalable as well,” he suggests. Fellows believes that initiatives like Bustanica will be a necessity in the search for food security.
Farm grows leafy greens and is set to expand its portfolio
The UAE'S COP28 presidency says that is necessary to look at the food systems and agriculture to limit the global warming to 1.5°C, pointing out that they are responsible for one third of the global emissions. Therefore, it seeks to address the interconnected challenges of climate change and food systems – betting on the innovation as an answer to some of them. Vertical farming, dubbed as crucial by UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment Mariam Almheiri for allowing the food cultivation in a more sustainable fashion, is one of the priorities.
Although key, the COP28 presidency stresses, innovation is only part of the transformation. Therefore, it invites governments to align food systems and agricultural strategies with the nationally determined contributions, national adaptation and action plans regarding biodiversity to reach the Paris Agreement goals. Furthermore, the COP28 works with representatives from all stages of the food system and the agricultural value chain to fast-track the transition towards a regenerative agriculture.
The COP28 will be in the Expo City Dubai from November 30 to December 12. The event is expected to gather over 70,000 participants, including heads of state, international industry leaders, representatives of the private sector, scholars, experts, youth, and non-state players. This year's UN summit will present the first Global Stocktake, an evaluation of the progress towards climate goals.
Report by Pablo Relly and Renan de Souza
Translated by Guilherme Miranda
The post World's biggest vertical farm produces year-round in Dubai appeared first on Agência de Notícias Brasil-Árabe .
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