AeroFarms will build the largest-ever indoor vertical farm in Abu Dhabi, it announced on Thursday.
The Newark-based sustainable indoor agriculture company said it will construct a 90,000-square-foot facility dedicated to the R&D and commercialization of local crops as part of a $100 million AgTech investment by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office. AeroFarm’s indoor vertical farming technology, it said, uses 95% less water and no pesticides.
The facility is expected to employ approximately 60 workers focused on horticulture, engineering and data science, and will include the following centers of excellence:
- Advanced organoleptic research and precision phenotyping laboratory;
- Advanced seed breeding center;
- Phytochemical analysis laboratory;
- Machine vision and machine learning laboratory;
- Robotics, automation and drones laboratory.
Since 2004, AeroFarms has grown about 800 varieties of crops and is anticipating expanding its production capabilities into other verticals such as pharmaceuticals, cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals.
“Our mission is to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, and this new cutting-edge R&D facility leverages our agriculture expertise and science-driven roots. We will be conducting leading research in plant science, vertical farming, and automation, accelerating innovation cycles and commercializing a diverse range of products. We will be partnering with major international companies, local universities, and AgTech startups to help solve some of the most pressing agriculture needs of our time, and AeroFarms is proud to play a pivotal role to helping establish the Emirate of Abu Dhabi as a global hub for AgTech innovation,” David Rosenberg, co-founder and CEO of AeroFarms, said.
Last year, the Abu Dhabi Investment office announced a $275 million AgTech invective program. As part of its initial funding round, ADIO will invest $100 million into four companies, including AeroFarms, to build facilities focused on solving regional and global challenges in Abu Dhabi.
“We are delighted to welcome AeroFarms to Abu Dhabi. AgTech is a priority sector for the Abu Dhabi Government, and our long-term goal is to support the development of innovation that will contribute to solving challenges of regional and global importance. We are excited to partner with AeroFarms and enable them to pioneer solutions for agriculture in desert and arid climates. AeroFarms will add significant scale to Abu Dhabi’s growing AgTech ecosystem,” Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, director general of ADIO, said.