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UAE: ‘How these vertical farms kept afloat during heavy floods’

The United Arab Emirates experienced a "historic climatic event", according to the National Meteorological Center, which stated, "The UAE experienced the heaviest rainfall in 75 years, and the "Khatm Al-Shakla" area in Al Ain received 254.8 mm of rain in less than 24 hours." That's the equivalent of two years' rainfall by the country's standards.

VerticalFarmDaily reached out to some local farms in the country to see if they were affected by the storms in any way. Maan Said, Founder of Crysp Farms, a supplier of vertical farms on-site, let know that their farms were largely unscathed by the recent heavy rains. "We just experienced in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, as they are completely sealed to the outside elements. Crops continue to grow and harvests are ongoing. Ironically, our farms are built in this region because of the lack of rain. This particular event was not kind to the traditional farms in the region."

The aftermath of the floods (as seen in Hortidaily)

The storm paralyzed the country, submerging roads and homes and bringing Dubai Airport to a standstill. Other neighboring countries experienced the same storm, in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman, where the human toll was heaviest. "The rough weather did not affect us at all, apart from a few logistical challenges," shares Danish Aziz Hurzuk, Business development and customer connections manager at Emirates Bustanica.

A farm-to-table container farm supplied by Crysp Farms still standing

A statement made by vertical farms
Despite the unfortunate event, Maan foresees that vertical farms will continue to play a significant role in all environments, frankly, as the key to a closed indoor farm is the ability to produce regardless of the conditions outside the farm.

"Traditional farms have good years and bad ones, depending on nature's conditions. We on the other hand keep things constant." According to Maan, the role of vertical farming is expected to grow in the region, "as this storm cut off deliveries from other parts of the world for several days. Grow local for local consumption is a key part of the ecosystem in the UAE, supported by government initiatives."

Driving the market interest
Often calamities like these will result in a shortage of outdoor crops, such as leafy greens, which results in skyrocketing prices. However, to Danish it's a no-brainer. "Our goal is to constantly support our partners and customers, we didn't ask for a premium, and we delivered as promised."

Despite the growing interest for on-site farms, Maan does not belive that this is "simply a result of the recent rain." He continues, "I believe that what we just experienced is due to global warming conditions and we can probably expect more storms like this in the future, so yes, we do expect more demand for our vertical farms in the near term. Right now, everyone is busy assessing the damage and trying to stay dry."

For more information:
Maan Said, Founder and CEO
[email protected]

Emirates Bustanica
Danish Aziz Hurzuk, Business development
[email protected]