IGS scores £22.5 million to build a giant vertical farm in the UAE

ImpactAlpha Editor

Jessica Pothering

ImpactAlpha, January 22 – The United Arab Emirates imports more than 80% of its food. The country is betting on indoor, vertical farms to boost the country’s food security.

Scotland-based Intelligent Growth Solutions is partnering with Dubai-based ReFarm to build a 900,000-square-foot farm to replace 1% of the UAE’s food imports and recycle 50,000 tons of food waste. Plans were announced at last month’s COP28 climate summit in Dubai.

IGS’s £22.5 million ($28.6 million) Series C equity round was backed by COFRA Holding, DC Thomson, S2G Ventures, Ospraie Ag Science and other investors.

Desert farming

The vertical farming sector took a hit last year. AeroFarms and its R&D facility in Dubai was caught in the downswing, but projects in moving forward in the UAE include a facility opened in October by Dubai-based Space Farm and Finland-based iFarm. One of the country’s largest vertical farms, opened in 2022, is a $40 million partnership between Siemens, Emirates Flight Catering and Crop One. Intelligent Growth Solutions’ David Farquhar has called for transparency and collaboration in the vertical farming sector.