Smart Acres aims to improve food security in the UAE

May 14, 2020 | By Rupkatha B

The newest addition to the UAE’s hydroponic vertical farming industry, Smart Acres aims to improve food security in the Emirates and develop the country’s farming capabilities. Smart Acres is getting ready to launch in the third quarter of 2020. Currently in the proof-of-concept stage, Smart Acres is located in Abu Dhabi on the Armed Forces Officers Club.

Smart Acres is keen to provide a solution to potential socio-economic threats, such as pandemics and climate limitations the Middle East. The vertical farming company developed by a team of experts is set to be a one-of-a-kind agriculture system, which will produce some of the highest yields of crops within the UAE vertical farming industry. In addition, Smart Acres seeks to introduce a new future for producing clean foods, while allowing B2B and B2C sectors to source produces locally.

Also read: Madar Farms pioneering a new way of living

In collaboration with n.thing, a South Korean vertical farming technology company, Smart Acres has been able to design farm modules using an IoT-based technology system to grow and monitor their produce, a system that not only consumes less resources but generates ultra-high quality crops.

We spoke to Sean Lee, director of Smart Acres about the brand’s launch readiness and future plans.

Are you on track for a third-quarter 2020 launch?

Lee: At the moment, we are operating as expected and have surprisingly experienced a large demand for our greens during the current crisis. However, we are not shortening our timeline for a market launch. Due to recent events, we have actually been donating large amounts of our greens to interested parties and F&B groups that assemble wonderful meal kits for frontline essential teams. Rather than speed up the process of launch, we have been utilising this time to enhance our Global Threat and Crisis action plan that involves internal and external measures for operating during times of crisis.

Since hydroponic vertical farming is on the rise, how will Smart Acres differentiate itself?

Lee: Most vertical farms in the region focus on micro-greens and baby greens as they are faster to grow and harvest, but we are pushing the envelope and striving towards cultivating fully-matured crops at industry-standard yields. We are focusing on developing larger quality greens in order to provide a cleaner and more sustainable alternative to mature crops exported from other countries.

How will Smart Acre make local food sourcing sustainable?

Lee: Our R&D and technology team is constantly assessing and modifying processes to adapt to the UAE climate; and as such, adjusting the usage of resources as well. Our in-house developed IoT (internet of things) system closely monitors the growth of our crops and makes changes to parameters so that resources are not wasted. Our long-term goals include developing micro-distance relationships with major food retailers where our modular farms are built in close proximity to retailer warehouses or distribution centres for very short transportation distances and increased freshness. Thus, reducing our carbon footprint. In addition, we plan on strengthening the sustainability and security of the MENA potato industry by developing home-grown potato seeds.

What kind of partnerships – with supermarkets/hypermarkets and restaurants/hotels – are you building?

Lee: Our B2B strategy includes a select group of hotel and restaurant brands that our team has existing relationships with. As for supermarkets and hypermarkets, we’re initially growing our business model through the F&B industry and will move towards supermarkets and hypermarkets in the next phase.

Will Smart Acre follow a farm-to-fork model by launching an online ordering platform?

Lee: We are definitely planning to launch our own e-commerce platform to enable a wider audience to experience our offerings. And our plans include more than the conventional lettuce box!


For all the latest retail news from the Middle East, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube page.



Previous Article Next Article



Carrefour onboards female-led start-up The Zola Collective

Carrefour, which is owned and operated by Majid Al Futtaim in the 

Continue Reading

January 31, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
A new branch of Waitrose comes up in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa City

British grocer Waitrose has opened its newest store in Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa 

Continue Reading

January 25, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Its Netherlands Food Week at Al Maya Supermarkets

UAE-based Al Maya Supermarkets has kicked off its ‘Netherlands Food Week’ that 

Continue Reading

January 20, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Tesco announces price lock to support consumers amid inflation (PC: Andrew Parsons / Parsons Media)

British grocery retail chain Tesco has announced a price lock on over 

Continue Reading

January 13, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Union Coop renews ISO certification

Dubai-based grocery retailer Union Coop has successfully obtained the ISO 22301, an 

Continue Reading

January 12, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona announces salary increase amid inflation (PC: Mercadona)

Spanish omnichannel supermarket chain Mercadona has announced salary increase amid inflation that 

Continue Reading

January 3, 2023 | By RetailME Bureau
Choithrams partners with Rove Hotels to open 8 new outlets

Grocery retail chain Choithrams will open eight convenience stores across Rove Hotels’ 

Continue Reading

December 30, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Géant to open more than 20 stores in the UAE in 2023

Part of regional retail conglomerate GMG, Géant plans to open more than 

Continue Reading

December 23, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
FMCG online sales growing by 68% in UAE and 58% in KSA

Online share in FMCG sales has been growing all over the world, 

Continue Reading

December 19, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Majid Al Futtaim Retail, Standard Chartered launch region’s first Sustainable Supply Chain Finance Programme

Majid Al Futtaim Retail, operator of the Carrefour franchise in the Middle 

Continue Reading

December 15, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
GMG and Silal partner to support 1,100 UAE farms access local retail market

UAE-based diversified conglomerate GMG and Silal have signed a memorandum of understanding 

Continue Reading

December 12, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau
Lulu Group partners with Amazon expanding grocery offerings to online customers in the UAE

Abu Dhabi based grocery retail chain Lulu Group has partnered with Amazon 

Continue Reading

November 24, 2022 | By RetailME Bureau

Download Images RetailME Magazine