The UAE is establishing a sustainable farming sector, where modern technologies are key to its plans to achieve food security for the entire population.
The Smart Home Farming Exhibition, Bustani, which was held this year in the Sustainable Villa in Masdar City, is one of the country’s initiatives that aim to transform the standard consumer into a “consumer/producer,” which will help ensure food security.
Bustani – which means ‘garden’ in Arabic – is a smart showcase in Masdar City that features innovative solutions to encourage people to cultivate and grow their own food at home to help provide sustainable solutions and manage food security. Some of the prototypes include a smart chicken coop that utilises solar panels and sensors, a customised beehive with an integrated honey dispenser and a smart appliance capable of growing plants and herbs without sunlight.
The launch of the exhibition is part of the cooperation between Masdar and the UAE-based Madar Farms, which specialises in agricultural technologies, and is the outcome of the partnership between Masdar and the Future Food Security Office, that aims to promote self-sufficiency in the country.
Showcasing more than 15 smart solutions around food, water, waste, production and recycling, this exhibition highlights how technological process is shaping the future of food and allowing the emergence of innovative, sustainable and accessible approaches to increase food security at the home level in the UAE.
Abdulaziz Al Mulla, co-founder and CEO of Madar Farms, said that some of the technologies used in this exhibition include leafy plant farming inside hothouses, grown without chemicals or preservatives, and also relying upon specially developed irrigation methods.
“The exhibition provides an experience for visitors, which confirms the possibility of providing all food needs for any consumer through growing plants in hothouses, which also includes a nearby poultry farm and another to produce honey, so the consumer then becomes a “consumer/producer” and participates as one of the essential elements in strengthening food security in the country,” added Al Mulla.
He pointed out that the exhibition relies on combining agriculture and technology, as the poultry farm, for example, was provided with modern technology and a smart chip in each chicken, which transmits accurate indicators to the homeowner about its daily production cycles.
He added that these initiatives operate in accordance with the food security strategy of the UAE, which aims to encourage consumers to rely on local production, adding that this project includes raising the public’s awareness and introducing them to these modern practices, and the necessity of applying them.
He expressed his pride in cooperating with Abu Dhabi’s Future Energy Company, Masdar, to carry out this project, which is housed in the sustainable villa in Masdar City, one of the most sustainable cities in the world.
The Eco-Villa was launched in Masdar City during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017, and it is a model project, which includes developed technologies, which help in strengthening efficiencies in water and energy consumption.
The 405 square-metre Eco-Villa is the first villa to achieve a 4 Pearl rating according to the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council’s Estidama Pearl Building Rating System. It will use around 72 percent less energy and 35 percent less water than a typical comparably sized villa in Abu Dhabi, displacing an estimated 63 tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.