Emirates Flight Catering opens the world’s largest vertical farm in Dubai

Bustanica has opened the doors to the world’s largest hydroponic farm thanks to an investment of 40 million dollars. The first vertical farm for Emirates Crop One is the result of a collaboration between Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) – one of the world’s largest catering companies serving more than 100 airlines – and Crop One, an industry leader in indoor vertical farming powered by technology .

Grow plants

The over 30,000 m² facility is located near Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai World Central. The vertical farm is designed to produce more than 1,000,000 kg of high quality leafy vegetables annually using 95% less water than conventional farming. More than 1 million cultivars (plants) are grown here during the day, producing an output of 3,000 kg per day.

Bustanica is powered by powerful technology – including machine learning, artificial intelligence and advanced methods – and a highly specialized team of agronomic experts, engineers, horticulturists and plant scientists. A continuous production cycle ensures that the products are super fresh and clean. They are also grown without pesticides, herbicides or chemicals.

Emirates and other airline passengers can look forward to eating delicious leafy greens, including lettuce, arugula and spinach, which will be served on board from July. Bustanica isn’t just revolutionizing airborne salads either, consumers in the UAE will soon be able to buy these vegetables at the supermarket. Bustanica also plans to expand into the production and sale of fruit and vegetables.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and CEO, Emirates Airline and Group said: “Long-term food security and self-sufficiency is hugely important for the economic growth of any country. Due to the limited agricultural opportunities in the region, we face several challenges. Bustanica heralds a new era of innovation and investment. These are important steps for sustainable growth and are in line with our country’s well-defined food and water security strategies. Emirates Flight Catering continuously invests in the latest technologies to keep travelers happy, optimize operations and minimize our environmental footprint. Bustanica helps secure our supply chain and ensures our passengers enjoy nutritious products from locally produced goods. By bringing production closer to consumption, we shorten the path that food takes from farm to plate. We congratulate the Bustanica team on their remarkable achievements to date o g with setting a new global standard in agronomy.”

Craig Ratajczyk, Chief Executive Officer, Crop One said: “After extensive planning and construction, we are delighted to celebrate this major milestone with our partner Emirates Flight Catering. Our mission is to cultivate a sustainable future. In doing so, we meet the worldwide demand for fresh, local foods. This first large farm is the manifestation of this goal. Bustanica shows what is possible all over the world.”

Self-sufficient farm

The farm’s closed system is designed to circulate water through the plants. This minimizes water consumption and maximizes efficiency. When the water evaporates, it is recovered and recirculated in the system. This saves 250 million liters of water annually compared to traditional outdoor cultivation.

Bustanica will have no impact on endangered mineral resources. This is because there is a reduced dependence on water and the harvest is not hindered by weather conditions and pests. Consumers who buy Bustanica’s vegetables in supermarkets can eat them straight from the bag. Washing can damage the leaves and introduce pollutants.

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