Saudi supermarket chain Tamimi Markets formed a joint venture with Japan’s Mitsui & Co. and Italian agricultural technology provider Zero SRL to develop the Kingdom’s first smart farms as per a recent report from Arab News.
Recently, the Ministry of Environment, Water & Agriculture of Saudi Arabia has set aside SR100 million (USD 27 million) to research and develop vertical-farming technology as it seeks to respond to rising demand. The country has gathered traction in recent months through various investments in smart farming companies in the region, new projects with leading vertical farming companies, and new research projects.
According to the report from Arab News, the joint-venture aims to develop Next-Gen vertical farms in the kingdom as it seeks to answer food security and sustainability needs. The JV will offer fresh produce to the various markets in Riyadh, the capital city, before expanding to other areas.
“Bringing hyperlocal freshness to our stores saves on logistics, accelerates speed to shelf, reduces carbon footprints, and helps to further differentiate us with superior quality products for our customers,” said Bobby Rajendran, general manager at Tamimi Markets.“Sustainability is good for business and the Kingdom,”
Tomoharu Gomi, general manager Agri-Innovation Dpt. at Mitsui, said: “We look forward to working with Tamimi Markets and Zero SRL to develop the next generation of smart vertical farms, a first for Saudi Arabia.”
National Security Concerns:
There are concerns that are raising as tensions in the middle-east region have kept on worsening in the past years, especially with the Yemen war. This had led to many attacks in the country mainly targeting oil fields and other plants belonging to the largest company in the country, ARAMCO. One could question whether such a vertical farming facility could be, one day, targetted by such an attack as it concentrates an important proportion of the country’s food security in a tight space…