The UAE announced earlier this year its determination to construct the largest vertical farm in the world near Expo 2020. This will boost food production and ensure the UAE’s future agricultural systems. This would promote indoor and urban farming as the next major step in global food production.
Another step forward is the UAE’s indoor vertical farm that grows Saffron in its Mena region. The deep yellow-orange seasoning, which is regarded as the most expensive spice in the world, can’t be grown indoors.
The state-of-the-art vertical farm, located in Al Zubair in Sharjah, is set to produce high-yielding, high-quality Saffron in an agrotech start-up in the UAE. Veggitech, a Saudi-based SNASCO Group company, was established in the middle of the pandemic to pioneer advanced technology. It is a pioneer in agriculture and democratizes light-assisted hydroponics systems. Logitech also aims to increase urban farming penetration and increase the availability of high-quality, affordable food.
According to Ali Abbasi (Veggitech’s senior operations and development manager), the production cycle for saffron will last 3 months. It will run from mid-August through mid-November. After that, the bulbs will be moved to the greenhouse. In the next nine months, the facility is going to be used for growing exotic mushrooms and turning it into an indoor mushroom farm.
Smart saffron indoor farms promise eco-friendly measures that produce healthier crops without the use of pesticides and fertilizers. They also have reduced water use and land usage to ensure a more sustainable production process. The senior farm manager stated that each bulb of saffron will likely yield 2-3 stands of saffron through the propagation process.