Silal, Abu Dhabi’s leading fresh produce and agri-tech company, and AeroFarms, a Certified B Corporation and leader in indoor vertical farming, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to forge a long-term research and development collaboration involving knowledge and technology transfer of advanced farming systems to local farmers.
Under the MoU, both parties will assess opportunities to transfer technology and data analytics capabilities from high-tech farming systems to improve yield, reduce cost and waste, and enhance environmental sustainability practices in agriculture across the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Both entities will also work across priority research areas that aim to benefit the local food supply and market dynamics including seedling quality improvement and crop diversification.
Speaking about the collaboration, Salmeen Obaid Alameri, CEO of Silal, referenced the importance of R&D to Abu Dhabi’s agriculture sector, saying: “One of our standing pillars at Silal is exploring innovative ways to increase local production, through R&D projects and collaboration with programs that foster growth. By working together with AeroFarms, we will explore localised advanced farming techniques that will enable local farmers to produce better, smarter, and more sustainably – bringing far reaching benefits for both producer and consumer alike. Our collaboration is another monumental step for Silal in its efforts to drive, deliver and safeguard high-quality food supply for the UAE and its people.”
”AeroFarms is excited to partner with world-class leaders like Silal to create innovative agricultural breakthroughs to improve the food system in the UAE,” commented David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms.
The collaboration will focus on improving the genetics and seedling quality of vegetable and fruit varieties to become more resilient and tolerant to extreme growing conditions. The quality of a seedling is an essential factor for crop establishment, growth, and yield. The partnership will also focus on evaluating and testing crops that have large consumer demand such as chili pepper, capsicum, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, broccoli, courgette, melons, eggplant, strawberry, and blueberry.
In addition, both parties may also look to work with international consortia and initiatives, to develop new genotypes of crops that have the compatible genetic traits to be produced in Abu Dhabi.
The trials and experiments on the crops will be conducted at AeroFarms AgX facility – a state-of the-art indoor vertical farm in Abu Dhabi, and the largest research centre of its kind in the world. Also, experiments on crops identified by both parties and which are valuable to local growers will be held in Silal’s farms. Additionally, knowledge transfer opportunities will be looked at for training, workshops, and seminars to share expertise to wider farming communities in Abu Dhabi.