Does Dubai Grow Its Food?

Since the UAE’s founding, the need for fresh harvest and the capital available has fueled agricultural growth. Digdaga in Ras al-Khaimah is the prime farming ground in UAE.

As of the early 1990s, there were roughly 70,000 hectares of total cultivable land. As the citizens consume more mouthwatering culinary creations, the more they begin to ponder the origin of the food in Dubai.

Tomatoes, eggplant, squash, cabbage, and cauliflower are the main vegetable crops. The two main fruit crops, in addition to dates, are citrus and mangoes.

The landscape of the region is not friendly terrain for cultivating crops. However, Al Awir in Dubai, Falaj al Mualla in Umm al Qawain, Wadi adh Dhayd in Sharjah, and the coast of Al Fujairah are some major farmlands in UAE.

The United Arab Emirates Agricultural Sector

The United Arab Emirates serves as the most promising agricultural market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) due to its high per-head-of-population food consumption.

The main challenges to agriculture are a lack of plowed land, extreme heat, and scarce water resources.

Rapid depletion of underground aquifers caused precipitous drops in water and significant increases in the soil in certain areas.

Analysis of the UAE Agriculture Market

UAE produces a fair amount of cereal. Its agricultural output is not entirely self-sufficient and relies on cereal imports. It produced 15,978 metric tons of cereal in 2020, as per FAO, a very small amount.

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In 2020 vegetable production totaled 233,009 Metric tons and fruit production came to 361,471 Metric tons.

Additionally, the area dedicated to organic farming has increased by 15%, from 4,687 hectares in 2017 to 5,419 hectares in 2020.

This is a result of government support and rising item demand, which is one of the factors driving the growth of the nation’s agriculture industry. Hydroponics is becoming more popular because it uses less water and has no need for soil or land.

Farmers receive incentives from both the federal government and the emirates.

The government provides 50% subsidies on pesticides, seeds, and fertilizers. Additionally, it offers technical assistance loans and loans for equipment.

How Dubai Produce Their Food

It’s not surprising that the majority of the food they consume is imported since the sand climate of the UAE isn’t the most favorable for raising crops or livestock.

Metropolises like Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, however, demonstrate how food can be grown even in difficult conditions.

To provide its millions of residents with fresh, wholesome, and locally grown food, Dubai is making enormous strides in the agriculture sector.

Agriculture Revolutionized

Uns Farms, based in the UAE, is transforming agriculture to produce food for a better future by using cutting-edge technology to generate zero pesticides, weedkillers, and more water-efficient products.

Vertical farming is the future of sustainable agriculture in the UAE. Some local hydroponic farms starting to grow fresh, local leafy greens without preservatives.

Heirloom varieties of red-veined sorrel, wasabi mustard, and gourmet lettuces are also cultivated.

Growing domestically in urban areas can play a critical role in addressing these issues because two-thirds of food produced worldwide is wasted due to logistical inefficiencies.

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Sand and Salt’s Hidden Potential

While some conventional crops do not thrive on Dubai’s sandy soil, others do. In the center of the Dubai desert, the International Center of Biosaline Agriculture effectively cultivates Salicornia and quinoa.

These crops, which can endure the heat and use salty irrigation methods, provide a peek at what food production might be like in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the future.

Control Environment Crop Production

Local farms in Dubai offer a comprehensive sustainable approach such as controlled environments that offer ideal conditions and shield plants from outside influences, enabling a reliable food supply.

A two-pronged strategy, blending hydroponics and vertical farming techniques is utilized to maximize their complementary advantages. Sensors, software, air conditioning, and stringent hygiene standards are also used to maintain the environment.

The world’s first commercial-scale interior tomato farm only using LED lights to grow fresh tomatoes will start operating in Abu Dhabi later this year.

Connecting Farmers and Customers

The concept of track and trace can connect buyers with their farm owners and help them comprehend how the farmer obtained that produce.

By developing a customer experience, a product’s value and reliability are both increased.

It only requires that you show concern for those who help you, which is not a tough challenge for a dedicated farmer.

Farmers can use organic manure, fertilizers, and multi-cropping to enrich the soil to give the soil life.

Growing plants organically will protect the customer from unhealthy lifestyles and maintains the ecosphere balance.

The Power of the Sun

It’s crucial to grow local vegetables to reduce the United Arab Emirates reliance on imported food. Sky Kurtz contends that agriculture is a fantastic way to broaden the economy.

To grow organic, regional, and delicious tomatoes, Pure Harvest Smart Farms’ creator uses the sun’s energy.

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Pure Harvest was officially appointed by Forbes Middle East as the 2nd must-funded start-up.

One of Dubai’s greatest impressive projects is undoubtedly The Sustainable City. Year-round production of fruits and vegetables is done in vertical greenhouses, which are solar-powered.

Dubai’s Desert Center Grows Future-proof Food

Climate change-related extreme weather and increased temperatures are creating farming more difficult and causing food supply issues.

But by bringing plants that flourish in less fertile soil and seawater, researchers in some of the driest regions of the world are coming up with ways to increase crop growth.

To increase the variety of foods in Dubai, the International Center of Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) is growing and implanting salt-loving natural foods here.

Salicornia is a plant native to the southern United States that is hardly known outside of some regions of Europe and North America. It requires saline water to grow.

Nations like the UAE, which are heavily reliant on food imports, are increasingly relying on various technologies, including indoor vertical gardens and wise greenhouses in the desert.


The UAE’s reliance on imported goods doesn’t bode well for its ability to support its approximately five million population, nor does it help reduce its carbon.

This pattern is unlikely to reverse itself anytime soon because more food will be required as the population grows and more restaurants are expected to open.

Forestry, public landscaping, and parks have all received significant funding for all agriculture farming.

The objectives include protecting agricultural areas from desertification while also enhancing public spaces.

The number of private farms has also increased in the Sharjah neighborhood of Dhaid.

Despite being small, these private farms contribute significantly to the emirates’ greenery.


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