Pioneers of hydroponic fodder in the UAE

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Published: Mon 18 Jul 2022, 10:00 AM

The UAE has proven to be a visionary nation time and again. The past 50 years stand a testimony to the changing skyline and incredible history. We have raced towards innovation while firmly holding on to our tradition and values. And we have achieved this because our rulers put our people at the core of every initiative. Al Aliyo Hydro Farms was born of one such thought process.

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Hydroponic is a culmination of two Greek words, 'hydro' meaning water and 'ponos' meaning labour. It means growing plants in water rather than inert soil. This green concept dates to the Babylonian era and has revived global interest due to an acute shortage of quality fodder production.

Tarannum Malik, Managing Director, Al Aliyo Hydrofarms
Tarannum Malik, Managing Director, Al Aliyo Hydrofarms

Tarannum Malik, chairperson and managing director of Al Aliyo Hydro Farms, started the company to offer a long-term solution to the much-neglected challenges of the agro-industry in the UAE. Currently, they have growth and harvesting capacity of 12,000 kgs per day of fresh grass for animal feed. She said: “Our vision is in sync with the UAE national agenda to strengthen significant food supply chains across all strata of society on top priority. We reside in a desert with sub-tropical arid summers and warm winters, where the flora is sparse and limited to thorny bushes and grasses. Hence, we aim to contribute to the UAE government's food security efforts by providing top-notch green fodder directly to farmers.”

Hydroponic farming has been gaining steam as it eliminates the dependency on climatic conditions, seasons, and soil. Plant production occurs in a monitored sterile environment sans human interference. Hence, the product tends to grow faster, uses less water, and is chemical and pesticide-free.

Hydro farm produce is also easier to harvest and has higher nutritional value. Hydroponic fresh fodder invariably results in healthier livestock. Animals have better gastrointestinal health, and there are lesser chances of ulcers, colic, acidosis, and laminitis. Moreover, feeding fresh grass results in healthier weight gain and better hydration. There is improved milk yield and fat composition.

Despite growing premium produce, Al Aliyo’s hydroponic fodder is economical and affordable vis-à-vis the dry grass and feed currently available in the market. “Our mission is to employ best practices for sector expansion enabling the UAE to become self-sufficient in livestock fodder requirements. Our objective is to identify and re-define the wasteful farming methodologies and replace them with viable, sustainable solutions for long-term benefit,” Malik added.

She further explains: "Our revolutionary hydroponic methods are cost-effective and environmentally friendly and harness temperature control and other best industry practices. We are committed to workplace safety and well-being and use no harmful materials or chemicals in production. We know feeding your animals is time-consuming, and hence we deliver convenience in a crate to your doorstep. Our fodder requires no mixing, chopping, cutting, or other manual process before feeding. According to your order specifications, it comes in the form of ready-to-feed grass biscuits.”

Al Aliyo cuts through the noise in the hydroponic industry for the following reasons.

  • They use no chemical fertilisers or pesticides in the growth process. Additionally, the grass is grown under strictly monitored hygiene and sanitary protocol.
  • They consume up to 90 per cent lesser water than conventional farming. Additionally, they use atmospheric condensers and save up to 2,000 litres of water daily.
  • They control their facility temperatures with state-of-the-art, green heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
  • They use no soil.
  • They grow in 3,500 sq ft within one week, what a hectare of land yields annually.
  • Their seeds undergo a thorough cleansing process to eliminate dust, mud, and other contaminants, thus reducing the possibility of colic and other gastrointestinal illnesses.
  • They pride themselves on providing safe and healthy fodder compared to the commercially available dry fodder options in the market.

Al Aliyo Hydro Farms has reimagined innovation to combat climate change and is on the cusp of a green revolution. Helmed by a strong woman, they are changing the fodder solutions spectrum for sustainable livestock farming, one feed at a time.

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