“For centuries, we’ve thought of good farming as being reliant on good soil,” says entrepreneur Sky Kurtz, the co-founder and CEO of Pure Harvest Smart Farms. “Turns out, it’s actually reliant on good light.”
His first prototype hydroponic greenhouse is located in the desert outside Abu Dhabi city.
Developed for farming year-round in arid environments, the high-tech smart farm uses water-efficient growing practices. Its technology is seven times more efficient than a typical UAE greenhouse farm, and 30 times more efficient than traditional field farming.
“In Abu Dhabi, we have an abundance of land, and most importantly, we have an abundance of sunlight. And we are about to translate that light into incredible production, which gives us a sustainable business.”
One of Pure Harvest’s missions is to tackle food security for the future.
“It’s a commonly understood statistic that by 2050 there will be 9.5 billion people on this planet, and to feed those people we will need 70 per cent more food. That led to the opportunity for Pure Harvest,” says Kurtz.
The greenhouse currently produces 500 tonnes of tomatoes a year for distribution in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
“It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur here. I imagine it was like this in the early days of Silicon Valley,” says Kurtz. “You have an incredible, supportive environment of young entrepreneurs aspiring to do big things, and that’s the kind of thing that rings the bell at the beginning of a movement.”
To accelerate the agricultural technology ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) has introduced a three-year programme with up to AED 1 billion (US$270m) in cash and non-cash incentives – including a 75 per cent rebate on all R&D activities – for innovators within select agricultural technology sub-sectors to expand their operations to Abu Dhabi.