Vertical Farming, 600sqm, Fresh Oasis, Saudi Arabia
Leafy Greens Hydroponic in Vertical Farming Results
Able to grow vegetables within Saudi Arabia throughout the year to serve the local market.
Located in the middle east, Saudi Arab is one of the most water-scarce countries on this planet. A large proportion of its vegetable and fruits supplies depends on import from other countries, usually travelling a long way from Europe, Asia, and even America. Seeing the opportunity brought by the futuristic plant growing technologies, in 2016, Sohail Ahmed and his son Farhan Sohail who has an engineering degree decided to start an the urban farming project called “Fresh Oasis” to find a more resource-efficient way to provide local market with fresh greens.
Their first investment was to convert the top floor of a old yarn factory into the a 180 sqm vertical farm laboratory, with kale, rosemary and dozens of other vegetables growing vertically under the purple glow of LED lights. By 2019, they have already expanded the scale up to a 600sqm commercial plant factory supplying different types of vegetables, mostly non-seasonal to Jeddah’s finest restaurants and supermarkets.
“We have 70 times more production per square meter as compared to field farming,” he said, and added that the elimination of pesticides and preservatives, meant the produce that came out of his vertical farm was“extremely healthy.”
Leafy greens hydroponic is largely immune to the restraints of extreme climate conditions in Saudi Arabia, which force the country to import almost all kind of crops throughout the year.
Having setups like the vertical farm allow us to grow these vegetables within our own country throughout the year and then send it to the market
He said, and added that if the model was successful on a large scale, Saudi Arabia could start producing vegetables for export to international markets as well, especially to the Middle East.