The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) and AeroFarms, a global leader in indoor vertical farming, have agreed to collaborate in a number of areas related to research and development in controlled-environment agriculture systems, including machine learning, AI, and robotics.
A memorandum of understanding to this effect was signed by Dr. Augusto Becerra Lopez-Lavalle, Chief Scientist at ICBA, and Mr. David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms, during the AeroFarms 2nd Annual AgTech Innovation Summit in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, in February 2023. The summit brought together over 24 speakers and 1,000 delegates from more than 65 different countries to discuss the future of food and agriculture, especially in arid and semi-arid environments.
Speaking of the collaboration, Dr. Tarifa Alzaabi, Director General of ICBA, said: “Controlled-environment agriculture systems like vertical farming have great potential for increasing food production in arid and semi-arid regions while helping to save water and other inputs. As our center has extensive research on high-, mid- and low-tech controlled-environment agriculture systems, we are delighted to partner with AeroFarms to achieve greater synergy and impact. Through this collaboration, we will be able to innovate and test solutions for resource-efficient and sustainable agriculture in harsh environments.”
AeroFarms specializes in indoor vertical farming, a method of growing crops in vertically stacked layers using artificial lighting within a controlled environment. The Certified B Corporation uses proprietary aeroponic technology to grow crops using 95 percent less water than traditional farming methods, while simultaneously increasing crop yields and reducing wastage.
Mr. David Rosenberg, Co-Founder and CEO of AeroFarms, commented: “AeroFarms has found an incredible ecosystem within Abu Dhabi and the UAE where we have been able to hire locally talented employees as well as find key partners for research initiatives with leading organizations like NYUAD and ICBA.”
The partnership with AeroFarms will build on ICBA’s long-running research and innovation in controlled-environment agriculture technologies like greenhouses and vertical farming systems. These technologies range from high-tech to mid-tech to low-tech systems. For example, scientists at ICBA are developing new models of greenhouse that are more resource-efficient and better adapted to desert environments. This work is part of ICBA’s broader research efforts on controlled-environment agriculture that aims to boost food security, nutrition, and environmental sustainability and enable resource-efficient and profitable farming in harsh environments.