AeroFarms, Madar Farms, RNZ and RDI to establish AgTech R&D and production centres in Abu Dhabi
Four agriculture technology (AgTech) pioneers will build new facilities in Abu Dhabi dedicated to developing next generation agriculture in arid and desert agriculture. The Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has partnered individually with AeroFarms, Madar Farms, RNZ and Responsive Drip Irrigation (RDI) to establish new R&D and production facilities in the emirate, turning sand into farmland, solving complex global agriculture challenges and expanding the profile of local food producers.
ADIO launched a targeted incentive programme in 2019 to accelerate the growth of the emirate’s burgeoning AgTech ecosystem and promote innovation that is locally relevant and globally exportable. ADIO will invest AED 367 million (USD 100 million) in total in the four companies to build facilities in Abu Dhabi, each tasked with solving regional and global challenges.
AeroFarms will focus on next-generation genetic phenotyping and organoleptic research while also tackling the challenges of desert agriculture from its new 8,200-sqm R&D centre in Abu Dhabi. The centre will be the largest indoor vertical farm of its kind in the world and will employ a projected 60+ highly skilled engineers, horticulturists and scientists.
Madar Farms, a home-grown UAE AgTech innovator, will build the world’s first commercial-scale indoor tomato farm using only LED lights in KIZAD. The company is also set to scale up the commercialisation of microgreen growing to help provide a consistent and predictable local food supply that responsibly uses the region's natural resources.
RDI is developing an innovative irrigation system to transform water usage in UAE agriculture and conducting research trials to increase crop yields in sandy soils and non-arable land. While locally-based company, RNZ, will set up a state-of-the-art R&D centre to research, formulate and commercialise ‘agri-input’ solutions that will help to grow more with less.
The competitive ADIO packages of cash and non-cash incentives awarded to the companies include rebates of up to 75% on R&D expenditure upon commercialisation of new solutions developed in Abu Dhabi. The packages are being dispersed as part of ADIO’s AED 1 billion (USD 272 million) AgTech Incentive Programme, established a year ago under the Abu Dhabi Government’s Ghadan 21 Accelerator Programme that is focusing on economic, knowledge and community development across the emirate.