‘Vertical Farms Company’, a joint venture between agritech companies YesHealth Group and Mowreq Specialized Agriculture, is to launch a network of indoor vertical farms throughout Saudi Arabia. The first of these farms is to be built in the capital Riyadh and with a 20,000 m² cultivation area it will be Saudi Arabia’s largest ever vertical farm.
This first farm is set to be fully operational by Q4 2023, providing jobs and healthy, sustainable produce to the local community. The expected daily yield output of the Riyadh farm is 2,000kg, consisting of lettuces, cruciferous vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers.
In line with the Saudi 2030 Vision, the partner companies will create 50 full time jobs at the Riyadh farm, and they aim to create more jobs over the next five to ten years, leading development of the controlled environment agriculture industry.
Total investment in the ‘Vertical Farms Company’ JV is valued at more than 100 million Saudi Arabian Riyals, or approximately US$28 million. The project is backed by Saudi venture capital and funds.
YesHealth Group and Mowreq Specialized Agriculture
Mowreq Specialized Agriculture already supplies vertically farmed produce to consumers in Jeddah, under the brand name Janafarm. It employs 15 people, producing healthy and fresh leafy vegetables around the year. The company uses aquaponics to grow its indoor plants – nutrients from fish are converted using bacteria to help the plants grow faster and cleaner. The technique saves on fertilisers and uses 90% less water than traditional agriculture – very important in a desert environment. As part of the Vertical Farms Company joint venture Mowreq brings knowledge and experience of the Saudi Market.
YesHealth Group currently operates a profitable, large-scale indoor vertical farm in Taiwan, and cooperates across several indoor vertical farms in Europe. Its combined operations employ more than 150 people worldwide and produce over 2,500 tons of leafy vegetables, annually.
The Riyadh farm will be operated jointly by Mowreq and YesHealth Group during a 3-year technology transfer phase, training local talent to take over the long-term operations.
“We built the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s first indoor vertical farm and now we’re building the Kingdom’s largest indoor vertical farm,” says Modar Hisham Nazer, Co-Founder of Mowreq and Chairman of Vertical Farms Company. “This massive, new farm that we’re building in Riyadh, will enable more of our compatriots to benefit from locally-produced Janafarm products, which are always clean, fresh, and free of pesticides.”
“YesHealth Group has overcome the operational challenges of indoor vertical farming in Subtropical Asia,” says Jesper Hansen, CCO of YesHealth Group. “The Middle East is our next challenge. We will guide the Riyadh farm through its initial phase of operation, with the aim of maximizing output and efficiency at the high level we achieve in our Taiwan farm.”