“For centuries, we’ve thought of good farming as being reliant on soil, turns out, it’s actually reliant on sunlight.” Entrepreneur Sky Kurtz, the co-founder and CEO of Pure Harvest Smart Farms is changing the face of farming leveraging the year-round, abundant sunshine of Abu Dhabi.
Pure Harvest’s proof-of-concept pilot high-tech, climate-controlled hydroponic greenhouse is located in the desert outside Abu Dhabi city. The food production system was developed for to make possible year-round, resource-efficient farming in arid environments. The high-tech, smart farm uses water-efficient growing practices with technology 7-10 times more efficient than a typical UAE greenhouse farm, and 30+ times more productive than traditional field farming. The greenhouse currently produces over 500 tons of tomatoes each year for distribution in the UAE.
“By 2050, there will be 9.5 billion people on this planet, and to feed those people we will need 70 per cent more food, but with declining water and arable land resources. This world-scale problem has led to the opportunity for Pure Harvest. Our mission is to tackle food security for the future as the population grows and demand for food increases,” says Kurtz.
The entrepreneur is a pioneer in a sector rapidly growing through Abu Dhabi’s push to develop an AgTech ecosystem. This mission is being realised in-part through a three-year programme by ADIO, offering up to AED 1 billion in cash and non-cash incentives for innovators in AgTech, who are looking to relocate or expand in the capital.
“It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur here. I imagine it was like this in the early days of Silicon Valley,” says Kurtz. “You have an incredible, supportive institutional environment coupled with young entrepreneurs aspiring to do big things, and that’s the kind of thing that rings the bell at the beginning of a movement.”