Emirates Airline invests $40m to build world’s largest vertical farm

Dubai’s national carrier, Emirates Airline, is planning to invest $40m in a "vertical farm" near to Al Maktoum International Airport, and use the food for meals on board aircraft and in departure lounges.

The airline, which is owned by the government of Dubai, is to work with American firm Crop One Holdings on the 12,000 sq m facility, which is expected to produce as much food as 900 acres of traditional farmland.

When fully operational, the facility will harvest 2,700kg of herbicide and pesticide-free greens each day. The crops will also be fresh and grown in a way that conserves the UAE’s dwindling water resources.

Sonia Lo, Crop One Holdings’ chief executive, said: "Our proven business model has demonstrated profitable commercial production longer than any other major vertical farmer.

"Our selection after a 10-month search by Emirates Flight Catering is a validation of our business model that uses patented technology and processes to optimise crop yields and facilitate hyper-growth."

Construction of the facility will start in November 2018, and the farm is due to yield its first crop in December 2019.

The world’s largest vertical farm at present is in New Jersey.

Image: Left to right: Saeed Mohammed, Emirates Flight Catering chief executive, and Sonia Lo, Crop One Holdings chief executive

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