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Dubai’s Food Tech Valley & ReFarm Plan Hi-Tech Gigafarm

The “vertical farm” venture is expected to be operational by 2026 and will be capable of replacing 1% of UAE fresh produce imports.

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dubai's food tech valley and refarm plan hi-tech gigafarm
ReFarm

Food Tech Valley, a Dubai-based technology center designed to address food security, has entered a partnership with the ReFarm group to build a gigafarm capable of growing over three million kilograms of produce annually.

The project, which starts in mid-2024, aims to help decarbonize UAE food production, replacing 1% of the country’s fresh produce imports. Both parties signed an agreement at this year’s COP28, which should see the 83,612-square-meter farm becoming fully operational by 2026.

As well as producing vast quantities of food, the high-tech farm will be capable of recycling over 50,000 tons of food waste each year while growing two billion plants.

“Rethinking our food production systems is a clear priority, and the decision of ReFarm to launch a facility in Dubai’s Food Tech Valley is a significant step forward for the development of a technologically advanced, low-carbon agricultural sector,” said Dr Thani Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade.

The gigafarm will be split into four zones: Agritech and engineering, food innovation, research and development, and smart food logistics. In addition, the site will become a closed-loop circular waste-to-value system, maximizing resources and preventing waste from entering landfills by creating organic compost.

Also Read: Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 To Help Climate Technology Startups

“This is one of many transformative projects which is set to be part of Food Tech Valley, which will have a significant impact on the UAE’s food security, maximizing the use of precious resources and decarbonizing the food supply chain,” explained Hesham Al Qassim, chief executive of Wasl Asset Management Group, which is developing the project alongside the Ministry of Food and Water Security.

Technologies used at the gigafarm are expected to recover 90% of the ammonia sulfate from wastewater, and no mains or groundwater connection will be required for the vertical farm to produce fresh produce. Developers claim the site will be 98% more efficient than traditional field-based farming.

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LEAP 2024 Will Shine A Light On Female Innovators In Technology

Women comprise nearly a third of the event’s speaker lineup alongside a dedicated program of high-level content, investment, and mentorship.

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leap 2024 will shine a light on female innovators in technology

LEAP 2024, a premier global technology event, will highlight the achievements of women in the technology sector as it returns for its third edition at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Centre in Malham district from March 4 to 7.

Hosted by Tahaluf, a strategic collaboration between Informa PLC, the Events Investment Fund (EIF), and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones (SAFCSP), LEAP 2024 will feature a dedicated program titled “Women in Tech”. The program will offer enriching content, investment opportunities, networking sessions, mentorship programs, and a special startup award.

leap 2024 event women in tech

The initiative aims to inspire women to actively participate in the technology industry, aligning with broader diversity efforts. Reflecting the Kingdom’s commitment to equality, the focus on “Women in Tech” coincides with the increasing female participation at LEAP events.

Annabelle Mander, Senior Vice President of Tahaluf, emphasized the event’s commitment to gender inclusivity, stating, “Female representation is across all of LEAP’s features and reflects the event’s mission of driving economic diversification and providing market access to international business. Within Tahaluf itself, half of our team members are women, and women make up half of our SMT, too”.

Also Read: Saudi Arabia Aims For 70% Cashless Transactions By 2025

The “Women in Tech” program will feature distinguished speakers including Nadine Hachach Haram, CEO and Founder of Proximie, and Sahar Albanarna from IMPACTIQUE Bahrain, who explained: “Over 26 million women worldwide with professional experience and degrees are not in the global workplace. This demographic includes a huge pool of untapped talent which technology can help unleash to fuel the co-creation of exponential solutions across multiple sectors. To help women access productive employment, we urge industry leaders to support high-impact female entrepreneurs as a means to boost their economies and accelerate the UN’s sustainable development goals by promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth”.

The event will also provide a platform for female-led startups and entrepreneurs to pitch for funding and support through various initiatives such as the Women’s Investor Forum, Entrepreneur Mentorship Scheme, and the Aviatrix Award at the Rocket Fuel pitch competition, offering a prize fund of US$150,000.

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