AMSTERDAM, Netherlands: Capitalising on its strategic location, aiming to diversify its economy by reducing the focus on crude oil, and pursuing an ambitious plan to achieve self-suffiency in food production, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is looking to lure in horticultural engineering companies, crop managers, researchers and greenhouse builders from the Netherlands to set up greenhouse businesses in the country.
To this end, the Council of Agriculture in the UAE and the Dutch Embassy in the UAE have organised a high-level business delegation led by Her Excellency Sheikha Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and the Environment. The dignitaries and investors will visit a cross-section of Dutch horticultural companies to better understand how the Dutch eco-system and Dutch advanced and high-tech solutions contribute to food safety and food security.
On 14 June, the delegation will meet with Dutch government officials and representatives of Dutch Greenhouse Delta – a provider of Dutch expertise in protected cropping – at GreenTech, the top horticulture technology event in the Netherlands. A visit to the World Horticultural Expo 2022 Floriade and bilateral meetings with horticultural engineering companies, government agencies and training institutes are also on the agenda.
The UAE has a clear ambition to become more self-sufficient and to produce fresh food locally in an efficient and sustainable way. In recent years, the UAE – the government as well as the business community – has shown great interest in Dutch advanced and high-tech solutions to enable the safe and secure production of food. The Dutch horticulture cluster has visited the UAE with outgoing missions and an extensive network of relationships has been established with governments, investors, and horticulture entrepreneurs.
The Dutch horticultural cluster hosted the successful Horticultural Days at the World Expo in Dubai (21-22 February 2022). Here, the Netherlands showed that it has all the necessary in-house knowledge and solutions to shape food production in an efficient, sustainable and safe manner thanks to the ‘Uniting Water Energy Food’ theme.
Many leading entrepreneurs from the UAE participated in the Horticultural Days. Sky Kurtz, CEO of the innovative company Pure Harvest Smart Farms said there: ”What I find remarkable about the Netherlands, and what is unique in the world apart from perhaps Silicon Valley, is that horticulture in the Netherlands has every element of the eco-system; investors, governments, technology companies, service providers and retailers; from development to sales. They work closely together and have an enormous knowledge and understanding of the value that each represents.’’
A shining example of how Dutch innovative solutions are applied in the UAE is Armela Farms; a producer of water-grown lettuce in the UAE. A specific concept has been developed for them, in which both the air and the supplied CO2 are almost one hundred percent recirculated. This enables the company to grow leafy vegetables in a high-quality and sustainable manner. Another notable example is the new state-of-the-art indoor farm Madar Farms in the Abu Dhabi port area, where 5,000 m2 of tomatoes and micro cresses are being cultivated. This indoor farm uses Dutch technology and is completely pesticide-free. All the water is recirculated, the CO2 is dosed very efficiently and the whole production runs on electricity.