UAE venture builder hatch & boost tackles food security

World of Farming (WoF) aims to reduce soaring costs of livestock feed through its circular farming proprietary technology that will enable local farmers to grow sustainable & fresh animal feed all year-round in the desert

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Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Tue 16 Aug 2022, 7:26 PM

Hatch & Boost Ventures, an Abu Dhabi-based venture builder, has announced the launch of the first agritech startup in its portfolio called World of Farming, which will tackle challenges related to food security that have been exacerbated by the pressure of rising global temperatures and limited water supply.

World of Farming (WoF) is introducing a hydroponic fodder (livestock feed) farming methodology for the meat and dairy industry to the Middle East market, which aims to enhance the sector’s sustainability.

Experts at the company explained that the UAE and other Gulf nations are known to have a harsh environment for farming due to high temperatures, scarcity of arable land, and limited freshwater resources. As a result, the UAE imports 80-90 per cent of the food it consumes, including livestock feed. In line with the UAE’s National Food Strategy 2051, WoF’s vertical farming model will enable local farmers to produce fresh, and cost-effective, local alternatives to international imports of animal fodder independently, efficiently, and more sustainably.

The startup will be making this possible through its patent-pending proprietary methodology called, ‘The Cattleyst’. This full circular farming methodology sustainably produces livestock feed through a closed loop system that reduces methane emissions to the atmosphere. This approach will supply the local dairy and meat industry with highly nutritious, herbicides and pesticides free animal feed at reduced cost, using up to 90 per cent less water and up to 90 per cent less land than traditional farming.⁠

Faris Mesmar, CEO and managing partner of hatch & boost, revealed that animal agriculture is one of the most harmful industries on the planet, directly responsible for 14 per cent of Greenhouse Gas Emissions. In addition, upwards of 50,000 acres of forest are cleared by farmers and loggers every day, around the world. This extreme clearing of land results in habitat loss, amplification of greenhouse gasses, and disruption of water cycles.

“Coupled with the effects of international mass shipping, and copious amounts of water consumption, the snowball effect of unprecedented global challenges we are seeing will continue to gather pace if we don’t do something about it today,” he said.

“With WoF, we are making agriculture more sustainable. WoF’s vertical farming technology will enable farmers to overcome their dependence on imported livestock feed by growing fresh and nutritious animal feed on their farm. With more farmers adopting our farming approach locally, our ultimate goal is to enhance the agricultural sustainability of livestock ranching and supply chains, and the customers they serve on the regional and global scale,” said Dr. Walid Saad, CEO and co-founder of WoF.

WoF has recently been awarded its first customer contract to build, operate and manage a fully integrated circular farm in the UAE with a total output of 3,000 metric tons of fresh animal feed all year round. This comes after having successfully completed its first prototype earlier this year. The startup is also currently fund raising to grow and scale its operations & offerings in the wider MENA, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“The launch of WoF comes at a time of profound geopolitical challenges and tensions across the world. Due to the current global crisis threatening food security, supply chains disruptions are significantly impacting farmers and end customers. We look forward to scaling WoF in the coming years, to accelerate the practice of sustainable farming in the UAE and support the UAE and wider region in its development of more robust food security for our region,” Dr Saad noted.

Currently in private BETA, WoF’s proprietary software technology, uses data to monitor and adjust farming parameters to identify the ultimate environment for optimal farm output. The vertical farm tracks crops during their growth cycle using AI & imagery to determine health, rate of growth and detect diseases. WoF aims to build, operate, and manage farms across the region, allowing farmers to enjoy cost saving benefits resulting from eliminating reliance on fodder import, nutritional losses due to long term storage, or logistics and storage costs.

WoF is simultaneously working with a number of local universities to empower youth and engage them in research & development programs to develop local solutions supporting the national food security strategy.

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