GCC’s first AI-managed vertical farm to be set up in Qatar

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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Vertical Farm
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Sadarah (Qatar), the owner of Agrico Organic Farm, and the Finland-based AgTech firm iFarm have partnered to create and run a commercial-scale indoor farm using iFarm’s latest vertical farming technology in Qatar.

The Sadarah-iFarm partnership’s initial phase entails the creation of a commercial trial farm at Sadarah’s Agrico Farm in Al Khor, Qatar. This will be the first AI-managed vertical farm in the GCC, with drones used to monitor crop health and regulate yields. The multi-year agreement will optimize the production of leafy greens, strawberries, and edible flowers, ensuring a consistent year-round supply of fresh produce for Qataris.

Mr. Ahmed Hussain Al-Khalaf, Chairman of Sadarah/Agrico said, “This partnership brings one of the world’s most advanced vertical farming technologies to our country. Combining Agrico and iFarm’s capability will deliver consumers even more of the freshest produce on the same day. Strawberries and most lettuce varieties are now 100 percent imported and in many cases of low quality and lacking freshness. Once the development is ready we will jointly be delivering the freshest strawberries and lettuces available anywhere in the world.”

Further, farmers will be able to increase crop quality and maximize output in one of the world’s hardest conditions by combining Agrico’s dry farming know-how and technology with iFarm’s cutting-edge vertical farming solution.

The collaborative project’s second phase comprises commercial distribution of the products to Qatar’s domestic market, as well as the development of vertical farming technology to additional farms in Qatar and its regional neighbors.

Sadarah and iFarm are both dedicated to providing the freshest, most flavorful leafy greens, strawberries, and edible flowers at any time of year. The agreement will also assist Qatar in reducing its reliance on food imports, bringing the country closer to its objective of achieving 70 percent food self-sufficiency by 2023, as outlined in the country’s National Food Security Strategy.

Kirill Zelenski
Kirill Zelenski
CEO – Intellectual Farm, OY

“Vertical farming is a key to boosting food security in Qatar, where conventional agricultural production is extremely challenging due to the country’s hot and arid climate. We are excited to tap into Agrigo’s long-standing expertise in the region and work together toward helping Qatar achieve its ambitious goals of food independence. I believe that it’s the beginning of a long-term and fruitful collaboration. The role of iFarm won’t be limited to simply supplying equipment and software at the construction phase, but we will help oversee the farm after it’s up and running and provide support to our partners in managing iFarm’s cutting-edge technology.”

The Qatar-Russia Investment and Trade Advisory (QRITA) acted as an advisor in establishing the partnership and will continue to support iFarm and Sadarah in the development of their joint venture.

Mr. Oleg Chizh, Managing Director and CEO of QRITA said, “We are pleased to facilitate the integration of the advanced agricultural technology by iFarm into the food security framework in Qatar and the MENA region, in partnership with Sadarah – one of the leading diversified conglomerates in the region, with a long-standing history in the food and agriculture space.”

“This is consistent with QRITA’s mission to enable impactful cross-border partnerships between the Russia/CIS and GCC regions. We look forward to supporting the partners in launching this pilot project and, hopefully, many subsequent projects. We are honored to contribute to promoting sustainable urban farming in Qatar,” Mr. Chizh added.

Related: UAE’s ICBA unites with UOWD to aid food system resilience in the region