YesHealth Group has initiated a joint venture with Mowreq Specialized Agriculture, to develop a network of indoor vertical farms throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The joint venture, Vertical Farms Company, will begin by building the Kingdom’s largest indoor vertical farm in Riyadh. This first farm is slated to be fully operational by Q4 2023.
Mowreq already supplies vertically farmed produce to consumers in Jeddah, under the brand name Janafarm, while YesHealth Group currently operates a large-scale indoor vertical farm in Taiwan, and cooperates across several indoor vertical farms in Europe. The Riyadh farm will be operated jointly by Mowreq and YesHealth Group during a three-year technology transfer phase, training local talent to take over the long-term operations.
Total investment in the Mowreq and YesHealth Group joint venture, Vertical Farms Company, is valued at more than 100 million Saudi Arabian Riyals, or approximately USD$28 million. The project is backed by Saudi venture capital and funds.
“We built the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s first indoor vertical farm and now we’re building the Kingdom’s largest indoor vertical farm,” says Modar Hisham Nazer, co-founder of Mowreq and chairman of Vertical Farms Company. “This massive, new farm that we’re building in Riyadh, will enable more of our compatriots to benefit from locally-produced Janafarm products.”
According to Jesper Hansen, CCO of YesHealth Group, the company has overcome the operational challenges of indoor vertical farming in subtropical Asia. “The Middle East is our next challenge,” he noted. “We will guide the Riyadh farm through its initial phase of operation, with the aim of maximizing output and efficiency at the high level we achieve in our Taiwan farm.”
The new 4,500 sq. metre indoor vertical farm will be built 20 kilometres from central Riyadh, and will be 16 metres in height, with a total cultivation area of 20,000 sq. metres. Expected daily yield will be 2,000 kilograms per day, including a variety of lettuces, cruciferous vegetables, herbs and edible flowers.
Read how investment is growing in the vertical farming sector, in New AG International’s Nov-Dec 2022 issue, here.