Red Sea Farms will build and operate an indoor farm, growing crops to sustainably feed guests and residents at The Red Sea Project
Riyadh: The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), the developer behind the world’s most ambitious regenerative tourism project, has partnered with Red Sea Farms, a Saudi Arabian AgTech business, to develop a sustainable food supply for The Red Sea’s flagship destination using sunlight and saltwater.
Red Sea Farms will build and operate the indoor farm, growing crops to sustainably feed guests and residents at The Red Sea Project. It will become a main supplier to the luxury destination’s resorts and restaurants.
“At TRSDC we believe in embracing new innovations to solve the challenges we face as we attempt to improve our relationship with the environment. Red Sea Farms’ technology is novel, exciting and has the possibility of helping to tackle food scarcity globally. This partnership means we’re meeting our own sustainable and regenerative ambitions, and once again demonstrating to the wider industry that tourism development can be done in a more considerate and responsible way,” said John Pagano, CEO of TRSDC.
The innovative technology uses sunlight and saltwater to cool greenhouses and grow crops, instead of relying on rainfall, fresh groundwater, or desalinated water. This saves up to 300 litres of fresh water per kilogram of produce – a 95 percent saving compared with other AgTech systems. The technology has been designed and developed in Saudi Arabia for use in often challenging environmental conditions.
This means a reduced impact on the environment and a significant cost saving for growers. It also results in more nutritious crops, while also providing a richer taste, flavor and texture.
This is the first time an agreement has been reached to roll out the technology on such a large scale in Saudi Arabia and makes TRSDC the first organization to recognize its commercial potential.
By 2023, The Red Sea Project will welcome 300,000 guests annually and upwards of 14,000 employees and once fully operational in 2030, up to one million guests per year and home to around 35,000 employees. Feeding this many people in a remote, largely desert environment presents huge logistical challenges. By working with Red Sea Farms, TRSDC is developing a self-sustaining and ecologically friendly food supply, which will be built within TRSDC’s wider sustainable food park zone.
TRSDC has set aside a 50 square hectare food development area and is inviting leading companies from around the world to set up production facilities as well as pilots of cutting-edge food technologies that can someday be used on a commercial scale.
The Red Sea Farms indoor farm will produce a diverse range of fresh leafy greens, herbs, vine crops, fruit including berries; and vegetables. Following the pilot, Red Sea Farms will have the option of expanding the farm to up to 100 hectares in the future, which would make it the largest sustainable farm of its kind in the world.
Ryan Lefers, CEO at Red Sea Farms, said: “We are committed to tackling one of the world’s greatest challenges: food security. That challenge can only be overcome through collaborative efforts between like-minded companies. TRSDC not only shares our sustainability ethos, it also understands the great challenge diminishing resources will play in the future. Our ambition is to use Red Sea Farms’ technology to feed the world sustainably and this partnership moves us to the next stage of making that a genuine possibility.”
TRSDC also partnered with Blue Planet Ecosystems in a regional first to deliver sustainably produced seafood. The first phase of the project will be implemented as a 3.500m2 pilot, to assess whether conditions at The Red Sea Project are suitable for the solution to work effectively and efficiently. This will be the first Land-based Automated Recirculating Aquaculture (LARA) system pilot in the Middle East to undergo a commercial trial.
The Red Sea Project will welcome its first guests by the end of 2022. The first phase of the development, set to complete in 2023, includes 16 luxury hotels offering 3,000 keys across five islands and two inland locations. It will also include entertainment facilities, and the necessary supporting logistics and utilities infrastructure.
Upon completion in 2030, The Red Sea Project will comprise 50 hotels, offering up to 8,000 hotel rooms and around 1,300 residential properties across 22 islands and six inland sites.
About The Red Sea Development Company:
The Red Sea Development Company is a closed joint-stock company wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia. TRSDC was established to drive the development of The Red Sea Project, a luxury, regenerative tourism destination that will set new standards in sustainable development and position Saudi Arabia on the global tourism map.
The project is being developed over 28,000 km2 of pristine lands and waters along Saudi Arabia’s west coast and includes a vast archipelago of more than 90 pristine islands. The destination also features sweeping desert dunes, mountain canyons, dormant volcanoes, and ancient cultural and heritage sites. It is designed to include hotels, residential properties, leisure, commercial and entertainment amenities, as well as supporting infrastructure that emphasizes renewable energy and water conservation and re-use, as well as a circular waste management system to achieve zero waste to landfill.
Activity for the first phase of development is well underway and is on track to be completed by the end of 2023. The project has surpassed significant milestones, with over 800 contracts signed to date, worth over SAR 18bn ($4.7bn).
The 100-hectare Landscape Nursery, which will provide approximately 25 million plants for The Red Sea Project and AMAALA, is now fully operational. There are more than 10,000 workers currently on-site and 80km of new roads are now complete, including the new airport road, to better connect the destination. The Construction Village is now open and development is progressing well at the Coastal Village, which will be home to around 14,000 people who will eventually work at the destination.
About Red Sea Farms:
Red Sea Farms is committed to solving one of today’s greatest problems – how to feed the world in the face of diminishing resources. Red Sea Farms cares about the planet just as much as people. Combining impact with innovation through sunlight and saltwater-based agriculture products, systems and services, Red Sea Farms promotes environmental and economic sustainability by meeting the nutritional needs of water-scarce populations. The approach is a world-leading blend of plant science, sustainable cooling, light and energy management and systems that use Artificial Intelligence.