Riyadh, Saudi Arabia —
- Vertical farming is expected to boost regional food supply through increased production of sustainable, locally produced high-quality crops
- The agreement will enable the growth of the agriculture sector and localize technological solutions, to support Saudi Arabia’s positioning at the forefront of vertical farming regionally
The Public Investment Fund (“PIF”) today signed a joint venture agreement with AeroFarms, a US-based commercial market leader in vertical farming, to establish a company in Riyadh to build and operate indoor vertical farms in Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The agreement will optimize the utilization of natural resources, including water and agricultural lands, through the implementation of indoor vertical farming, with no need for arable land, resulting in significantly higher yields and using up to 95% less water versus traditional field farming.
The partnership is expected to enable sustainable, local sourcing of high-quality crops all year round, grown using AeroFarms’ proprietary smart agriculture technology (“AgTech”) platform, which helps solve broader supply chain needs in the industry. The joint venture plans to build and operate several farms across the region in the next few years. The first farm in Saudi Arabia, which is expected to be the largest indoor vertical farm of its kind in the MENA region, will have an annual production capacity of up to 1.1 million kgs of agricultural crops.
The partnership aligns with PIF’s strategy, which focuses on developing and enabling the capabilities of key sectors, including food and agriculture, which will contribute to improving trade balance, localize technologies, develop industries and the overall growth and diversification of the Saudi economy. PIF is investing to localize new agricultural technologies that can benefit the local private sector, expanding its market reach and positioning Saudi Arabia as a leader in vertical farming.
Majed AlAssaf, Head of Consumer Goods and Retail, MENA Investments Division at PIF, said: “The agreement with AeroFarms will lead to the establishment of indoor vertical farms in Saudi Arabia and the wider MENA region, increasing regional reliance on locally produced, high-quality crops grown in a sustainable way using the latest technologies. PIF is enabling the growth of the food and agriculture sector and localizing technology that can benefit private sector industry participants.”
David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms, commented: “Our mission is to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, and we created AeroFarms to help solve the greatest agriculture challenges and increase food resiliency around the world. We are excited to partner with PIF to build our first large-scale commercial farm in Saudi Arabia, where the growing conditions are challenging with limited access to fresh water and arable land, and we envision building together smart indoor vertical farms throughout the broader MENA region.”
AeroFarms has a strong track record of creating large-scale commercial farms with a reputation for high quality and consistency of production, along with experienced management, and an advanced technology and R&D team.
Since 2004, AeroFarms has been leading the way for indoor vertical farming and championing transformational innovation for agriculture. On a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, AeroFarms is a Certified B Corporation with global headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. Named by Fast Company as one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies and Brands That Matter and by TIME for Best Inventions in Food, AeroFarms patented, award-winning indoor vertical farming technology and Aeroponics Advantage™ provide the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive, taking agriculture to a new level of precision, food safety, and productivity while using up to 95% less water and no pesticides ever versus traditional field farming. AeroFarms is able to grow safely all year round, using vertical farming for elevated flavor.™ Its commercial products can be found at major international selling partners like Ahold Delhaize, Amazon, Compass Group, Walmart, and Whole Foods Market. In addition to its commercial farms, AeroFarms has state-of-the-art R&D indoor vertical farming facilities both in the United States and United Arab Emirates. Through its proprietary growing technology platform, AeroFarms has grown over 550 varieties of plants and has developed multi-year strategic partnerships ranging from government to major Fortune 500 companies to help uniquely solve agriculture supply chain needs. AeroFarms specialty greens are safely grown indoors in state-of-the art commercial indoor vertical farms that are certified for SQF Level 2 Good Manufacturing Practices, USDA Good Agricultural Practices, Non-GMO Project Verification, and the industry-leading CEA Food Safety Seal that was developed to differentiate indoor clean growing practices from traditional challenges in the field. For additional information, visit: https://aerofarms.com/.
About The Public Investment Fund:
The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is one of the largest and most impactful sovereign wealth funds in the world. Since 2015, when the Board was reconstituted and oversight transferred to the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, the Fund’s board of directors has been chaired by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Prime Minister, Chairman of the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, and Chairman of the Public Investment Fund. PIF plays a leading role in advancing Saudi Arabia’s economic transformation and diversification, as well as contributing to shaping the future of the global economy. Since 2017, PIF has established 71 companies and created, directly and indirectly, more than 500,000 jobs as at the end of 2021.
PIF is building a diversified portfolio by entering into attractive and long-term investment opportunities in 13 strategic sectors in Saudi Arabia and globally. PIF’s strategy, as set out in the PIF Program 2021-2025 – one of the Vision 2030 realization programs – aims to enable many promising sectors and contribute to increasing local content by creating partnerships with the private sector, in addition to injecting at least 150 billion riyals annually into the local economy. PIF works to transfer technologies and localize knowledge to build a prosperous and sustainable economy domestically. As the investment arm Saudi Arabia, PIF looks to make unique investments, and is building strategic alliances and partnerships with prestigious international institutions and organizations, which contribute to achieving real long-term value for Saudi Arabia, in line with the objectives of Vision 2030. PIF has also created an operational governance model that reflects its main tasks and objectives, in line with best international practices. Applying this model of governance enhances the level of transparency and effectiveness in decision-making and future progress.
More information about PIF can be found at: www.pif.gov.sa