- Bather Smart Farms is pioneering vertical farming in Saudi Arabia, disrupting traditional import models.
- The farm’s founders, Khalid and his son Abdullah, utilized Agritecture Designer software to plan and execute their vision.
- The software offers a low-cost way to run scenarios, take classes, and connect with suppliers.
- The farm aims to make microgreens and other produce more accessible and affordable for everyone in Saudi Arabia.
- The journey of Bather Smart Farms highlights the challenges and opportunities in adopting new agricultural technologies in new markets.
Vertical farming is increasingly viewed as an alternative to traditional agriculture, particularly in areas where conventional farming methods encounter difficulties. Bather Smart Farms in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, founded by Khalid and his son Abdullah, is an example of this approach in the region.
The Genesis of Bather Smart Farms
Khalid, a geologist, had a simple yet profound love for salads. His initial experiments with growing microgreens at home encouraged him to think bigger. “Why import when we can grow it here in Saudi?” he thought. This question led Khalid and Abdullah to disrupt the traditional import models and focus on local production.
The Role of Agritecture Designer
To scale up their vision, Khalid turned to Agritecture Designer, a comprehensive software designed to help aspiring vertical farmers. The software offers courses, consultation, and a platform to plug in numbers and run scenarios. Khalid found it invaluable: “It gives you all the solutions. First, it gives you the idea about vertical farming, and then you go through small courses from A to Z.”
Commenting on Agritecture Designer’s role, Isabelle Dom says: “Since its beta release in 2021, we have had over 6000 registered users, and signing up for Agritecture Designer can save individuals tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees helping them avoid costly mistakes. Users also have access to Agritecture Designer-exclusive discounts with the members of our Partner Network.”
Challenges and Opportunities
Starting a vertical farm in a new market like Saudi Arabia is challenging. From educating construction companies to hiring people who understand the technology, the journey was arduous. Abdullah also emphasized the need to educate customers about the benefits of microgreens and other produce they offer.
The Market Response
According to Abdullah, chefs and restaurants are particularly interested in their products. The most consistent issue for chefs is the quality of imported food, which often arrives expired or in poor condition. Bather Smart Farms aims to solve this problem by offering fresher, locally grown alternatives.
The Vision for the Future
Both Khalid and Abdullah have high hopes for the future. They aim to make their products more accessible and affordable. “There’s a misconception that these greens are very expensive,” says Abdullah. The farm also plans to expand its range to include herbs and medical plants deeply rooted in Saudi heritage.
Image provided by Agritecture