Sunday Wrap Up: Inside Saudi's Largest Vertical Farming Venture and Global Agricultural Innovations
Discover this week's latest development from the world of Controlled Environment Agriculture.
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This Week’s Editorial
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This Week in Indoor Farming: Saudi Arabia's Record-Breaking Vertical Farm, Spread Co. Doubles Shelf Life With New Process, and AVAG & Dutch Greenhouse Delta Unite for Global Horticulture Promotion
Saudi Arabia has launched its largest indoor vertical farming project in Riyadh, a significant advancement for the country's agricultural sector. This project is a joint effort between Vertical Farms Company (VFCo), Mowreq Specialized Agriculture, and YesHealth Group, demonstrating international collaboration in agricultural technology. The farm, which features a 15-meter tall structure with 19 layers and a 20,000-square-meter growing area, marks a substantial leap in urban farming design and capacity. Additionally, it serves a dual purpose, functioning as an experiential center with exhibition and dining areas, thereby offering a unique blend of agriculture and visitor interaction. With a production capacity of 2,200 kilograms of leafy greens per day, the project significantly contributes to local food security and presents a scalable model for sustainable farming practices worldwide.
The project, scheduled for completion by July, is a collaborative effort between Mowreq Specialized Agriculture and YesHealth Group, highlighting effective collaboration between Saudi and Taiwanese teams. Designed to produce a variety of produce including lettuces, cruciferous vegetables, baby leaves, and edible flowers, the facility stands as a modern marvel in agriculture. Mowreq, co-founded in 2019, was instrumental in establishing Saudi Arabia's first indoor vertical farm, focusing on local, safe, and nutritious food. YesHealth Group, a global leader in indoor vertical farming, contributes its expertise in vertical farming infrastructure. This project not only represents a significant step forward for Saudi Arabia but also serves as a global model for sustainable, efficient, and urban-centric farming, combining cutting-edge technology with an innovative visitor experience.
Spread Co. has developed the “Techno Fresh” processing method that extends the shelf life of cut lettuce up to two times while maintaining its freshness, taste, and quality. To capitalize on this innovative method, Spread is constructing the first large-scale salad processing plant utilizing Techno Fresh – Techno Fresh Hadano, using the latest AI and robotics technologies. The plant is set to become a next-generation automated salad processing plant, potentially reducing water usage by 55%. The facility is scheduled to start operations in June 2024, producing six types of cut lettuce under the INDOOR SALAD brand.
The Philips GrowWise Research Center by Signify, a leading provider of lighting solutions, has recently made a promising breakthrough in the field of indoor cultivation. Through the use of advanced climate, lighting, and irrigation control, researchers were able to achieve a higher yield per square meter of raspberries from fresh young plants, effectively enabling year-round production. This development is significant, as it addresses the challenge of seasonal variation in raspberry production and could have a positive impact on the industry as a whole.
That being said, the possibility of producing subsequent cycles without cold storage dormancy - a period of rest required for the plants to regenerate before producing a new crop - remains unexplored. Researchers believe that further investigation could lead to even higher yields and more sustainable production methods. This could be a game-changer for the raspberry industry, allowing for more efficient use of resources and a more consistent supply of fresh produce.