In Need of a Solution
Despite the United Arab Emirates (UAE) being a relatively rich country, they still have unsolved issues with food security. As a desert country, there is not a large agricultural industry. This mostly stems from the lack of available fertile soil and fresh water supply. In fact, only 5 percent of the land in the UAE is even able to be farmed. Therefore, traditional methods would only be able to provide a small amount of the countries needs.
Beyond this, between 70 and 80 percent of the water consumption in the area is designated towards agriculture. Without a solution, it is not a sustainable practice. Furthermore, UAE imports between 80 and 90 percent of their entire food supply. This leaves them without a reliable domestic supply of food as well as a lack of fresh nutritious food. Concerns over political unrest in the region could potentially prevent full food shipments from entering the country. In order to ensure that the people of the UAE have access to food and water for years to come, it is necessary to think outside the box.
Abdulaziz Al Mulla co-founded Madar Farms in 2017 after realizing the stark issues that the UAE and many Arabian countries faced regarding food security. While working at his previous job, he encountered a project that exposed him to the numbers involved. He knew he could find a better way to produce food, so he resigned from his job and started working on Madar Farms. Using his background and passion for food security, he started Madar Farms and committed to developing solutions since then.
The team that makes up Madar Farms is a mix of people with business backgrounds, engineers and agricultural specialists. Together they have created a model that not only has created innovative ways to grow food but also has created a business model that can keep the farms running into the future. These innovative methods are proving to be a potentially revolutionary way for countries that suffer from poor agricultural climates to begin to secure a source of food.
Madar Farms is Changing Agriculture
Madar Farms uses advanced farming techniques to create an efficient farm in the desert. They used shipping containers as the exterior of their building and have the entire environment contained within. From here, they use a combination of vertical farming and hydroponics to maximize their output. Mader Farms regulates the temperature to keep the crops out of the blistering heat. They also utilize blue lights, used to replace sunlight. The design focus of the entire system is to be a better version of farming due to the extreme control and science that goes into the process.
The hydroponic system brings many benefits. The first of these is the lack of pesticides that are used in the crops. These crops, grown in water, do not require pesticides due to the fact that most pests live in soil. Along with this, hydroponics allows for much less water to be used in the farming process. In fact, Madar Farms process uses 95 percent less water than traditional methods. By saving so much water, they are able to protect an important and scarce resource. Another added benefit of Madar Farms’ methods is year-long growth. Because they have control over every aspect, including water, nutrients and sunlight, they are able to grow crops continuously.
They also do not have to worry about rotating crops or giving fields time to regain lost nutrients, as they control the nutrient levels in the water. These innovative methods are just one of the many ways Madar Farms is changing agriculture. Madar Farms will be able to provide fresh crops year-round. Further, these locally grown crops are pesticide- and GMO-free and help preserve precious resources.
The government of the UAE has identified food security as a top priority for the continued growth of the country. In 2018, the Minister of Food Security in UAE launched a national food security strategy that outlines the necessity of improved food security. The government’s interest in their project provides support and an opportunity to help Madar Farms; the farms could potentially become an established part of the food industry in the UAE.
Furthermore, experts estimate the vertical farming industry will become a multi-billion dollar industry in the 2020s. As the world’s need for food continues to increase with population growth, vertical farming such as Madar Farms will be in higher demand as countries look to secure their food and water supply. The world will have to put out more food with fewer resources. Madar Farms has developed a solution that could be a potential long-term solution.
A combination of innovative thinking and new technology make up how Madar Farms is changing agriculture in UAE. Madar Farms is using vertical farming and hydroponics to provide food using less water and never-ending growing cycles. This new way of farming could provide the UAE with a future of food security.
– Josh Fritzjunker