Dubai brings in big bucks to create high-tech greenhouse in 2018
Pure-Harvest is a Dubai based greenhouse farming company in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Their promise, as stated on their website, “Smart, farm-to-table, Year-round, premium quality produce, grown here” is generally the same goal as most high-tech greenhouse companies we see today. In a recent effort to raise money to seed the project, Pure-Harvest has raised over $4.5 million of initial investments in a climate-controlled, tech-enabled greenhouses starting in the UAE and expanding over time. Investors in this round included the UAE government supported innovation fund, Pure Harvest’s technology partners as well as a list of angel investors.
Food security is one of the biggest motivators for the high tech city to invest in this growing method. The UAE itself is suffering from a huge lack of food security as it imports 80% of its own food following bans in regional imports due to high levels of pesticide residue. According to Pure Harvest founder sky Kurt, in such an arid climate, while constantly battling with a limited water supply, it is essential that innovations such as controlled climate growing facilities are utilised in order to maximise food sources. Pure Harvest company plans to develop a portfolio of CEA (controlled environment agriculture) technologies including vertical farms and contained based growing locations to help battle water and food scarcity and provide a wide range of fresh produce
An investor in the newest project of Pure Harvest, member of the Pure Harvest board of advisors, former US national security council director for North Africa and the Arabian peninsula, and now a consultant for middle eastern governments, David Scott, said “Pure Harvest’s tech-enabled approach to arid climate agriculture and its strong project team offer a realistic and much-needed solution for improving food security across the Gulf, as well as a means not just to maintain domestic agriculture, but to profitably expand it – all while preserving the region’s precious remaining freshwater aquifers. Ultimately, I see this kind of sustainable domestic agriculture as a critical component of any successful post-oil diversification strategy,”
Scott had mentioned to AgFunderNews in august earlier this year that he believes the United Arab Emirates could one day become the food exporter of the world if they get more serious about adopting green grow tech like this.
The sultan bin Khalid Al Saud of Saudi Arabia will be joining the Pure Harvest board who is expected to be Pure Harvests local partner when growing into the Saudi market in the next period of expansion.
Kurtz says he is expecting to finish the first growing facility by the middle of 2018 and is hoping to start product sales by the end of 2018. Depending on the success of the business in its first months, he will be expanding the business within the region, recognizing that other GCC countries are battling in the same war against food and water scarcity.
Pure Harvest is planning to tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and strawberries to sell at local, regional and national stores for a decent price; between import price and local grown price figures in government subsidized agriculture. “With Pure Harvest, we hope to address food security concerns and to take a giant step forward to be less dependent on international imports for fresh produce, which will directly contribute to the UAE’s long-term sustainability,” – Mahmoud Adi, cofounder of Pureharvest
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