Vertical indoor farm first from UAE to sign distribution deal with high-end market distributor

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi (third from left), Minister of Climate Change and Environment for the UAE at the Badia Farms.
Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi (third from left), Minister of Climate Change and Environment for the UAE at the Badia Farms.
Badia Farms, a UAE vertical indoor farm, has signed a distribution agreement with Classic Fine Foods, a distributing firm that serves five-star hotels and upmarket restaurants across the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

The agreement will enable the farm to sell vegetable to premium restaurants, hotel and café across the UAE.

Ruya, Jumeriah Beach Hotel, Renaissance Hotel and The Address Boulevard are some of the hotels and restaurants in Dubai that will be using the farm’s products.

Badia Farms is also the first UAE brand to have its products distributed by Classic Fine Foods.

The farm grows its products in a controlled indoor environment using hydroponic technology. Arugula, kale and cress are some of its products.

“We have started a new wave of farming technology in the region, with a vision to shape the future of how we grow our food. We are delighted that through this partnership we are able to deliver our leafy greens to more chefs’ tables across the UAE,”​ said Omar Al Jundi, founder and Chief Executive Officer at Badia Farms.

Their farming methods use up to 90% less water than open field farming, and plants are stacked up to more than 20 ft high in the warehouse.

As of 2016, India is the UAE’s largest vegetable exporter. It is responsible for 18.75% of the UAE’s vegetables export, with trade value amounting to 1.3 million, according to the World Bank’s statistics.

Omar believes that being a local farm, their products will give them an edge over imported products.

“We have received incredible feedback from chefs so far, who are extremely passionate about our products and our methods – that can’t be matched with imported produce,” he said.

Commenting on the partnership, Thomas Leroy, regional director for the Middle East at Classic Fine Foods, said: “It is extremely rare in our region to have a farm on our doorstep that can grow quality, fresh produce in a sustainable way. Working with Badia Farms we can substantially cut down the travel time of fresh produce while extending our offering to the region’s top restaurants with Badia Farm’s unique varieties.”​ 

Hydroponic technology key in food security

Badia Farms began production in December last year, becoming the GCC's first commercial vertical farm. It plans to pioneer the region's "green revolution" ​with methods such as hydroponic technology that optimises growing conditions. 

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment commented that Badia Farms’ agricultural concept is aligned with the UAE Vision 2021, which is to work towards a sustainable future and to reduce water usage.

“Badia Farms is an exceptional example of how the UAE’s agricultural industry can thrive while protecting our environment for future generations. The initiative reflects the nation’s commitment to becoming more sustainable and helps us achieve our goal of food security,” ​he said during the inauguration of the farm in March this year.

He added that hydroponic technology is crucial in ensuring agricultural sustainability, food diversity and security, as it enhances crops production and lowers production cost concurrently.

“Sustaining food diversity relies heavily on innovation and the employment of cutting-edge technologies. The ministry supports all efforts in this field and works on enhancing its ties with the private sector to explore potential investment opportunities.”

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