Emirates Flight Catering opens world's largest vertical farm


The world's largest vertical farm, backed by an investment of $40 million, has opened its doors in Dubai.

It's part of Emirates Crop One, the joint venture between Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) and Crop One.

Located near Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central, Bustanica is spread across 330,000sqft and is geared to produce more than a million kilograms of high-quality leafy greens annually, while requiring 95 per cent less water than conventional agriculture.

At any point in time, the facility grows in excess of 1m cultivars (plants), which will provide an output of 3,000 kgs per day.

"Long-term food security and self-sufficiency are vital to the economic growth of any country, and the UAE is no exception," highlighted Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive, Emirates Airline and Group.

It marks an "important step for sustainable growth and aligns with our country’s well-defined food and water security strategies".

Passengers on Emirates and other airlines can look forward to forking these delicious leafy greens onboard their flights from this month, with plans to expand to UAE supermarkets soon. 

Bustanica is driven by powerful technology – machine learning, artificial intelligence and advanced methods – and a highly specialised in-house team that includes agronomy experts, engineers, horticulturists and plant scientists.

A continuous production cycle ensures the produce is super fresh and clean, and grown without pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals.

The farm’s closed-loop system is designed to circulate water through the plants to maximise water usage and efficiency. When the water vaporises, it is recovered and recycled into the system, saving 250m litres of water every year compared to traditional outdoor farming for the same output.

Bustanica will have zero impact on the world’s threatened soil resources, an incredibly reduced reliance on water and year-round harvests unhampered by weather conditions and pests.

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