Saleh Nasser Al Sorayai speaks during an event in Sharjah.
Agritech leader Veggitech unveiled the first ever Saffron farm in Sharjah, the first of its kind the UAE and largest in the Mena region, spanning only 165sqm but equivalent to 3.5 hectares of land typically.
Working in line with the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy for 2051, Sharjah-based Veggitech is bringing agriculture to new heights through efficient supply chain and advanced technology with the key aim of boosting the agriculture sector and democratising growth light-assisted hydroponics systems and penetration for mass movement in urban farming.
Veggitech began the inaugural Saffron farm project in the summer this year with harvest expected to peak in the end of November.
The Veggitech ‘Red gold’ farm boasts fully smart built-in systems to manage the entire farming process; from temperature control to irrigation systems. The vertical farm technology will produce healthier crops without the use of fertiliser and pesticides, as well as reduced land usage and minimum water consumption creating a more sustainable production cycle. Saffron is often referred to as ‘red gold’ due to its prestigious value and reputation for being the most expensive spice in the world, mainly because such a small part of the flower is ultimately used and the laborious extraction process.
Chairman of Snasco Holding Group, Saleh Nasser Al Sorayai said, “Agritech is one of the key pillars within the UAE National Food Security Strategy 2051 and the Global Food Security Index. Our Saffran project is just another demonstration and proof that the UAE is the right place to take this mission forward, given the support from the government. We are looking forward to being a key player in the nation’s mission as we continue to expand our indoor vertical farming ventures in the UAE and create educational programmes that promote urban farming, ultimately contributing to food security and production.” “In our first harvest each bulb will produce 3-4 strands of saffron but next year we would expect 12-15 strands and this will only continue to grow over time. Our inaugural saffron vertical farm currently houses approximately 5 tonnes of saffron bulbs, from which we would expect 1000kg of saffron crocus and from this 3kg of World’s Best Super Negin, a very exciting time indeed and a huge step for the UAE,” said Dr Ardalan Ghilavizadeh who joined Veggitech to lead on the Saffron project.
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