A JV between Emirates Flight Catering and Crop One will grow over 1,000 tonnes of produce a year at its vertical farm in Dubai

Emirates Crop One, a joint venture between Emirates Flight Catering and indoor vertical farming company Crop One, has opened the world’s largest vertical farm in Dubai, according to Gulf News.

Located near Al Maktoum International Airport, Bustanica farm uses a closed-loop system to circulate water through the plants in order to optimise water usage.

The 30,000m2 facility, which is backed by a US$40m investment, is reportedly set to save over 250m litres of water annually and grow over 1,000 tonnes of high-quality leafy greens.

“Long-term food security and self-sufficiency are vital to the economic growth of any country, and the UAE is no exception,” said Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and chief executive of Emirates Airline and Emirates Group. “We’ve specific challenges in our region, given the limitations around arable land and climate. Bustanica ushers in a new era of innovation and investments, which are important steps for sustainable growth and align with our country’s well-defined food and water security strategies.”

Produce from Bustanica, the joint venture’s first vertical farm, will soon be available on Emirates flights and in supermarkets, according to Gulf News.

Craig Ratajczyk, CEO of Crop One, said he was “thrilled” at the opening, particularly given the planning and construction involved and the challenges of the pandemic.

“It’s our mission to cultivate a sustainable future to meet global demand for fresh, local food,” he said, “and this first large format farm is the manifestation of that commitment. This new facility serves as a model for what’s possible around the globe.”