Home News A desert country wants to produce animal feed in hydroponic greenhouses

A desert country wants to produce animal feed in hydroponic greenhouses

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Hydroponic crops -greenhouse PHOTO Shutterstock

Hydroponics PHOTO Shutterstock

A desert country wants to produce animal feed in hydroponic greenhouses, writes Bloomberg, according to Agerpres, stating that the country thus wants to reduce its dependence on imports.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is turning to vertical farms and hydroponic greenhouses to produce the feed it needs to feed its livestock, as the desert country wants to reduce its dependence on imports and protect itself from disruptions in global supply chains.

Abu Dhabi start-up World of Farming will begin operations on local farms later this year to supply feed to meat and dairy producers, who currently rely on imports for 80% to 90% of their feed needs. fodder, said Faris Mesmar, general manager at the investment fund Hatch & Boost Ventures.

“This region has very little arable land and dependence on imports has become a problem for local farms,” ​​Faris Mesmar said in an interview.

According to him, the local animal breeders “reached the situation where they no longer have constant access to fodder for their animals”.

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Lacking arable land and resources, countries from the Middle East to Asia are trying to protect themselves against food shocks and disruptions created by the pandemic, political developments and extreme temperatures on global supply chains. In addition, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has disrupted supplies for one of the world’s largest grain exporters, and heat waves have affected grain crops in Europe and the US.

Techniques such as hydroponics, drip irrigation and indoor cultivation allow desert countries such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to reduce their imports of expensive fresh produce. In July, Dubai-based airline Emirates inaugurated the world’s largest hydroponic farm to supply greens for in-flight meals.

Vertical hydroponic greenhouses grow plants in enclosed spaces without soil, irrigating the crops with a water-based nutrient solution, and often use artificial light.

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However, it is very rare that this system is used for fodder production. World of Farming claims its technology enables fodder production with a significantly lower carbon footprint than traditional farming and requires less water and space. The company uses artificial intelligence to monitor the health and growth rate of plants and can optimize production based on changing animal needs.

Feed can account for over 60% of costs for animal protein producers, so “if vertical farms can provide an affordable source of feed, it would enable a more resilient food system in the UAE,” says Greg Ohannessian, co-founder of consultancy Soma Mater.

According to him, even though feed grown on vertical farms may be cheaper than imported feed, there are other options that livestock farmers could consider in providing locally produced feed, such as using food waste or producing local grasses. which can tolerate water with a high degree of salinity.

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