Agrifood - United Arab Emirates


Finding solutions together

Cooperation in Agrofood between the UAE and the Netherlands

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Netherlands are cooperating in innovation of the Agrofood and Horticultural sector. Introduction of high tech systems in broiler and meat production, aquaculture and last but not least horticulture, will lead to more local production in the UAE in line with the UAE’s National Food Security Strategy. Both domestic production and secure, stable imports of food have become top priority on the UAE’s agenda. In addition to the aim of establishing the country as a world leading hub in innovation-driven food security. 

As you cannot grow everything in the dessert The Netherlands stays a very interesting market for semi finish products (ingredients) in the food sector for the hospitality sector in especially Dubai. Food waste is a point of attention in especially the hospitality sector, which offer good opportunities for cooperation with the Netherlands.

The poultry industry has well developed in recent year, but there are still many opportunities for suppliers of equipment, day-old hens and hatching eggs.

Aquaculture is under development in the UAE, making the market for high-tech systems from The Netherlands interesting.

The market for (veal) meat, as well as vegetable meat substitutes is still developing strongly in the UAE.

Water saving in open field production

UAE and The Netherlands cooperate to conduct agriculture with minimum water by applying modern irrigation systems for water saving. Hydrorock BV has installed a high tech irrigation system at The International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) in Dubai, in cooperation with Wageningen University & Research . The system has a terrific positive effect on the palm trees as they provide water underground. The pilot project will be enlarged to AlMusafeh Industrial area.

The PIB program NLHortiRoad2TheGulf

Due to the enormous tourism sector, Dubai is an interesting market for the Netherlands in term of fruits and vegetables and other consumer products from the food sector. The UAE wants to stimulate its own production and therefore stimulates investments in the horticulture sector which many investors looking to use the Dutch technologies. 

The so called PIB program is the answer to it. It is a 3-year program, financed by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) which will support the development of Dutch Agtech in horticulture to the Gulf Region. The aim is to strengthen the cooperation with local stakeholders to further develop the local horticulture production ecosystem.  As Dutch horticulture technologies and practices can make a significant contribution to making the Gulf Region more self-sufficient in terms of fresh, healthy, safe and affordable food that is grown in an efficient and sustainable methods.  The activities will be coordinated by Dutch Greenhouse Delta (DGD) and InnovationQuarter, with participating Dutch companies Priva Horticulture, Signify, Certhon, Artechno, Bom Group, Hatenboer-Water, Koppert Biological Systems, Logiqs B.V. and Viscon Group. They will be supported by the wider Dutch horticulture network including other companies, but also many different players in R&D and education. 

Armela Farms in Dubai


The local Partners: Mohammed Tauqir Khan. Avir Shah, Yazan Abu Jaish. It is a fully automated hydroponic farm which was made with the highest technology of Dutch companies: Van der Hoeven, Let’s Grow, Hoogendoorn, Koppert Biological Control, Jiffy. They are currently in the advanced stage of discussions with various entities in Dubai (Investment Corporation of Dubai being one of them) & Abu Dhabi, thereafter deciding who to partner with for the current or future expansions. Armela Farms are leaders in the lettuce industry and have started ground breaking at the new facility in Abu Dhabi, it will be ready in July 2021 and will be fully automated lettuce production facility using advanced Dutch Technology in GCC.

The current farm production capacity is 5000 heads daily (currently the largest hydroponic lettuce producer in UAE, producing 365 days, with the new facility the farm will be reaching approx. 30,000 heads of lettuce daily (6250kg daily).

They are looking to bridge the gap between supply and demand and reduce the gap between importation and local supply. With the new facility in Abu Dhabi, they are in negotiations of setting up a baby spinach and Arugula facility using again Dutch advanced technology.

They have currently few kale farms in different locations in UAE producing approx 2000kgs daily, by 2021 they will be adding to these locations to produce 4000-5000kgs daily.