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Saudi Arabia To Build The Largest Indoor Vertical Farm In The MENA Region

Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund and the US business AeroFarms have formed a joint venture to develop and run indoor vertical farms throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

The joint venture will be able to use AeroFarms' own smart agricultural technology platform, AgTech, to grow high-quality crops all year round thanks to the agreement reached with the firm that will be based in Riyadh.

According to a Public Investment Fund (PIF) statement, the agreement will implement indoor vertical farming without the need for arable land, resulting in noticeably higher yields and using up to 95% less water than traditional field farming. This will optimize the utilization of natural resources, including water and agricultural lands.

In the upcoming years, the joint venture intends to construct and run a number of farms around the region. The first farm in Saudi Arabia will have a yearly output capacity of up to 1.1 million kilograms of agricultural commodities, making it the largest indoor vertical farm of its kind in the MENA region.

Majed Al-Assaf, director of retail and consumer products for PIF's MENA Investments Division, said: “The agreement with AeroFarms will lead to the establishment of indoor vertical farms in Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region, increasing regional reliance on locally produced, high-quality crops grown in a sustainable way using the latest technologies. PIF is enabling the growth of the food and agriculture sector and localizing technology that can benefit private sector industry participants.”

The partnership is in line with PIF's approach, which emphasizes strengthening and enabling key sectors' capacities, such as those in food and agriculture, in order to improve the trade balance, localize technologies, foster industry development, and promote the overall expansion and diversification of the Saudi economy.

AeroFarms co-founder and CEO David Rosenberg said: “We are excited to partner with PIF to build our first large-scale commercial farm in Saudi Arabia, where the growing conditions are challenging with limited access to fresh water and arable land, and we envision building together smart indoor vertical farms throughout the broader MENA region.”

In order to increase its market reach and establish Saudi Arabia as a pioneer in vertical farming, PIF is investing in the localization of innovative agricultural technology that may help the nation's private sector.

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