ADIO to invest US$100 million in four global AgTech to develop next generation agriculture
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. The partnership will 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 said in a statement on Thursday.
ADIO will invest AED367 million (US$100 million) in total in the four companies to build facilities in Abu Dhabi, each tasked with solving regional and global challenges. The investment office 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.
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 plus 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 Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi, 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 percent on R&D expenditure upon commercialisation of new solutions developed in Abu Dhabi.
The packages are being dispersed as part of ADIO’s AED1 billion (US$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.
Mohammed Ali Al Shorafa, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said, “Our Ghadan 21 accelerator programme was launched just over a year ago and already, we are seeing tremendous progress. Targeted initiatives, like ADIO’s AgTech Incentive Programme, foster innovation in the emirate to solve regional challenges and create highly skilled jobs.”
To date, ADIO has allocated approximately 40 percent of the AgTech Incentive Programme funding in the first year of the three-year programme. The programme is open to local and international companies looking to establish and grow a presence in Abu Dhabi.
Dr. Tariq Bin Hendi, Director-General of ADIO, said, “Four global AgTech innovators are joining our mission to turn sand into farmland. In line with Abu Dhabi’s long-term vision to grow the sector, ADIO partners with companies that have innovation at the core to help ensure long-term success. Each of these companies will add to our already established agriculture ecosystem, and benefit from our plentiful land, natural heat, competitive energy prices and access to research universities and skilled talent.”