The rise of hydroponic farming in the UAE: The Carrefour example

The rise of hydroponic farming in the UAE: The Carrefour example

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Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, has inaugurated Dubai’s first in-store hydroponic farm at its Carrefour market Al Wasl store. The farm increases the quantity of fresh, local, and sustainable produce supplied to Carrefour customers.

 This initiative marks Majid Al Futtaim’s third in-store hydroponics farm and is part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) to promote sustainable locally-grown produce, enabled by innovative solutions.

The in-store farm on Al Wasl spans 24 square meters and joins two others farms in Carrefour locations at Yas Mall and My City Centre Masdar. The Al Wasl farm has a total growing area of 54 square meters and can accommodate up to 16 varieties of leafy greens, including lettuce, arugula, and kale, and herbs, such as basil, dill, and sorrel.

 The newly opened farm responds to customers’ growing interest in fresh produce farmed and sold inside stores. The farm also educates people of all ages about modern low-impact farming techniques and adds to Carrefour’s sustainability efforts, such as incentivising customers to opt for reusable shopping bags and eliminating single-use plastics by 2025.

Hydroponics is considered one of the most efficient farming techniques; as it enables the fresh produce to grow in a controlled and hygienic environment, without the limitations of space and climate, providing a sustainable and safe supply of food throughout the year. In addition to reducing the food miles and carbon footprint involved in food production, the farm also uses 90 percent less water and less space than traditional farms to deliver approximately 10kg of fresh herbs and microgreens per day, equivalent to the yield of about 1 acre of farmland. The farm contributes to Majid Al Futtaim’s Net Positive commitment, which aims to offset the company’s water and carbon footprint by 2040.

 In an exclusive interview with HN, a spokesperson at Carrefour management said: “Carrefour is committed to delivering high quality, sustainably sourced produce.  As such, investing in agricultural technology (AgTech) is vital to Carrefour’s business strategy, allowing us to offer our customers the freshest produce in the market.” He continued: “The investment, thus far, has resulted in the development of three hydroponic farms – two in Abu Dhabi and one in Dubai. The latest in-store farm in Al Wasl spans 24 square metres and joins two others at Carrefour locations in Yas Mall and My City Centre Masdar in the UAE capital.”

The spokesperson explained that Carrefour’s investment in AgTech is both long-term and far-reaching. Supported by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), we remain environmentally and socially sustainable through locally grown produce, our support of local farmers, and finding solutions for long-term food security in the UAE. What’s more, the farm contributes to Majid Al Futtaim’s Net Positive commitment, which aims to offset our water and carbon footprint by 2040.

“In addition to providing our customers with fresh produce options, we believe our efforts will also encourage UAE farmers to engage in commercial agriculture and embrace modern cultivation practices.”

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