6th - 8th December 2021, Dubai World Trade Centre

Urban Farming: The Way Forward

Crop One Holding is a vertical farm operator, the brainchild of the retail brand FreshBox Farms, with patented indoor plant and crop growth processes, free from pesticides and chemicals. They have recently partnered with Emirates Flight Catering, to build the world’s largest vertical farming facility, located in Dubai, UAE.
As a Key Opinion Leader in the organic industry, we reached out to them to understand more about urban farming and the way forward.

Why did you start Crop One Holdings?

As the world’s population grows at a rapid rate, there are very limited natural resources to grow enough food to fulfill the demand in the conventional way. The UN estimated that by 2050, the world’s population will be over 10 Billion. Crop One was founded to help responsibly feed people the planet’s growing population through advanced vertical farming techniques that provide fresh, locally grown, healthy vegetables.

Seven years after its founding in 2012, Crop One is now a leading vertical farmer and the only one to consistently maintain a gross profit. The company’s patented process, created and augmented by top plant scientists, allows its farms to grow 400 acres worth of outdoor-grown produce in 1 acre of warehouse space.

Can you tell us a little more about the project in Dubai, the Largest Vertical Farm in the World?

We’re building the world’s largest vertical farm here in Dubai along with our Joint Venture partner Emirates Flight Catering, producing 3 US tons of leafy greens per day. Crop One went through a competitive 10-month global bidding process initiated by the Emirates and eventually won the tender, further proving our technology and commercial track record. This project not only benefits both JV partners from a commercial perspective but also aims to help the UAE achieve its food security goals as outlined in its Five Pillars of UAE Food Security Strategy. For further details, please kindly refer to our press release here.

What is next for you and what are your long term goals?

At the parent company level, we are expanding both domestically in the U.S. and internationally across the globe. In parallel, we are also actively investing in R&D in areas such as seed breeding for the indoor growing environment, plant miniaturization, densification, and new cultivar/crop type development to further increase our yields, reduce our cost and diversify our product portfolios. Additionally, we collect millions of data points of our plants each day using our digital and mechanical control systems, the Crop One Farm Manager, to maximize growth and control plant performance especially with regard to plants’ taste, texture, and cleanliness.
Where do you see the industry going from a sustainable farming perspective?
The vertical farming industry helps effectively address several pressing global issues such as climate change, food security, food safety, land scarcity, water scarcity, job safety and so on. Crop One’s mission is to solve these issues one crop at a time.

What is your key message to other corporates in the industry?

We believe that this is going to be a multi-winner market, of which we’ll be one. Although still at an early stage, we are together making a permanent shift in the agricultural infrastructure worldwide. In order to fulfill the market demand and to make this shift, it’d require more than just one or two dominant vertical farming companies, so does it need a lot more support from the members of the global financial communities who have a vision and the risk appetite for long-term investments.

Interviewed by Menaka Ramakrishnan, Buyer Manager
menaka@organicandnatural.com

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