A vertical farm on the outskirts of Sharjah is showing that you can grow anything in the desert — if you have the right technology.
Hygrow Farm produces leafy greens that would otherwise have to be flown in from across the globe.
Using LED lights and climate-cooled spaces, it yields tonnes of crops year-round that could never grow in the Gulf’s temperatures.
In February, it struck a deal with hotel chain Hilton to provide lettuce, kale, rosemary and basil. The 10-acre farm includes 13,000 square metres of greenhouses, where various types of lettuce are grown, and a 2,000 square metre vertical farm where herbs are produced.
It’s well-known that the importing of food and beverages creates a significant contribution to the level of greenhouse emissions
Emma Banks, Hilton hotels
The farm has already provided Hilton with about 5.5 tonnes of vegetables and herbs.
“When we started in 2019 we were just growing tomatoes and cucumbers here,” Piyush Acharya, general manager of finance for Trovec, the company that owns Hygrow, said during a tour for The National.
“Technology now means we are able to produce a lot more products that wouldn’t have been possible even a short time ago.”
Climate controlled spaces
“Last year we started producing lettuces and other leafy greens and the response has been amazing,” said Mr Acharya.
“One of the issues with farming here in the UAE is the heat in the summer, which puts a lot of constraints on what can and can’t be grown.
“However, the vertical farm doesn’t have those issues, as we can ensure conditions are kept the same throughout all 12 months of the year.”