London-based controlled-environment agriculture firm Vertical Future is set to announce major deals in the next month, which will make the Middle East its largest market.
Vertical Future will deploy its proprietary vertical farming system across the region "within the next two months", the company’s founder and CEO Jamie Burrows, told Arabian Business.
Vertical Future is in “ongoing and advanced stage” discussions with regional parties, he confirmed.
The global vertical farming market is estimated to be valued at around $80 billion and growing at a CAGR of around 25 percent – with value derived across technology, infrastructure, software,and operations, according to proprietary Vertical Future data.
Vertical farming is the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers. It often incorporates controlled-environment agriculture, which aims to optimize plant growth, and soilless farming techniques such as hydroponics, aquaponics, and aeroponics.
To accelerate regional plans, Vertical Future has chosen to partner with GreenBridge, a Lebanon and Egypt-based agriculture company that has been active in the region for three decades.
The partnership will see Vertical Future bring agriculture technologies, market networks, plant science expertise and marketing knowledge to the region. GreenBridge will offer on-the-ground operations support and local expertise.
“In order for us to expand into a complex regional market like the Middle East, it’s important to have a viable local partner,” said Burrows.
The Vertical Future CEO confirmed that the company is waiting on “several contracts” – some of which are at request for proposal (RFP) stage.
“Overall, Asia is one of the highest growth markets for vertical farming,” said Burrows.
“The Middle East has a big issue with food security. There is governmental strategic interest about reducing reliance on imports,” Burrows said, adding that the region would become the company’s biggest market following the signing of imminent deals.
The contracts will cover plants varying in size from 3,000 sq m to 150,000 sq m, Burrows said.