UAE and Korean Consortium to Pilot AI-Powered Smart Farming Solution to Reduce the GCC’s Animal Feed Import Dependency

  • Pure Harvest Smart Farms (UAE), Al Dahra Agriculture (UAE), and PlanTFarm (Korea) partner to forge an innovative, low-cost vertical farming solution to produce animal feed anywhere.
  • R&D trials conducted in Korea indicate the potential to use 95% less water versus traditional production methods while achieving substantial nutritional advantages versus imported feeds.
  • A commercial-scale pilot is part of a rigorously designed 120-animal feed study, intended to integrate nutritious, fresh barley sprouts into the animal’s daily feed mix.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 12 December 2023: Pure Harvest Smart Farms (Pure Harvest), a leading sustainable technology-enabled agribusiness headquartered in the UAE, today announced a new partnership with Al Dahra, a diversified global agribusinesses that is a leader in the cultivation and production of animal feed, and PlanTFarm, a smart farming solutions provider, for a commercial-scale pilot scheme to bring the benefits of controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) to the animal feed industry, utilizing a proprietary, fit-for-purpose, low-cost indoor farming solution.

The innovative smart farm utilizes PlanTFarm’s cutting-edge, AI-powered vertical farm technology, engineered to reduce the capital intensity and energy consumption of the growing system to farm fresh, nutritious animal feed. The facility will be co-located within livestock farms to localize animal feed in Al Ain, UAE, using 95% less water per kilogram versus traditional farming means. The collaboration aims to reduce the UAE’s import dependency by offering an economic, sustainable, and scalable localized farming solution. The pilot solution and commercial partnership has been under development since early-2022, and preliminary results show promise.

Sky Kurtz, CEO of Pure Harvest, commented: “Our region imports the lion’s share of its animal feed requirements to protect its endangered water resources – coming at a cost to food security, feed price volatility, and nutrition quality. Put simply, we don’t believe our region’s farmers should have to choose… and if we’re right, this solution is scalable to other water-scarce parts of the world.”

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“With food systems a major focus of COP28, we are pleased to announce this project which, if successful, could have huge benefits for the animal husbandry industry globally. This inventive partnership is yet another example of sustainability-inspired innovation coming from our region. I’m excited to see how the expertise of Pure Harvest, Al Dahra and PlanTFarm can offer the chance to make resource-efficient, localized animal feed production possible anywhere in the world, regardless of climate.”

Arnoud van den Berg, the Group CEO of Al Dahra said, “Our core purpose at Al Dahra is to sustainably feed a growing world. We do this at scale by partnering with stakeholders, deploying cutting edge agritech, regenerative and sustainable agricultural practices while optimizing our supply chain. This initiative is a perfect example of our purpose in action. This innovative, water-saving project builds upon our existing successful CEA partnership with Pure Harvest, and we look forward to collaborating with Korea’s PlanTFarm.”

Yong Park, Head of Global Business Operations at PlanTFarm, said: “PlanTFarm is proud to engineer this ground-breaking, low-cost vertical farming solution. This innovative project leverages our company’s core technological capabilities to unearth a practical, profitable and more sustainable application of vertical farming for the animal feed industry. We are pleased to be partnering with Pure Harvest and Al Dahra and hope that this is the first of many opportunities to work together.”

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Design, engineering, and procurement for the project is complete, and construction will begin in early- 2024. Results will be available in the second half of the year, and the parties will communicate results with key stakeholders, with a keen focus on water-saving benefits and animal productivity gains, among other factors.