Funded by $10 million, a Saudi startup expands the use of saline water for agriculture | Saudi

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The company won the third place in the Entrepreneurship World Cup among more than 100,000 applicants in the Misk Global Forum.

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The Saudi Red Sea Farms, a startup specializing in agricultural technology, announced that it has raised $10 million, which it will use to establish agricultural facilities on a commercial scale and enter the neighboring UAE market to expand its activity.

The company’s CEO, Ryan Leaves, who co-founded it, stated that the Red Sea Farms aims to establish between 4 and 6 farms on an area of ​​6 hectares in central and western Saudi Arabia, and in Abu Dhabi.

“We are also looking forward to planting peppers and cucumbers as part of this tour, to continue focusing on fresh and healthy agricultural products,” he added.

The company intends to sell its production in UAE stores, and its tomato production is already sold in Saudi stores now.

The Red Sea Farms Company aims to innovate new farming methods based on advanced technology in the use of salty sea water to cool greenhouses and irrigate crops.

The company won third place in the Entrepreneurship World Cup among more than 100,000 applicants in the MISK GLOBAL FORUM.

Professor Mark Tester, one of the company’s founders and professor of plant sciences at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, says on the company’s official website; “The cost of agricultural irrigation based on desalinated water in the Middle East is one dollar per cubic meter, which is very expensive. Therefore, reliance on desalinated water in agriculture in the Middle East is considered environmentally unsustainable, in addition to the huge energy it consumes and its negative environmental impact.”

He added, “The Red Sea Farms Company, which holds a patent for its cultivation of crops using saline water, and its unique combination of engineering and botany, has provided solutions for saltwater-tolerant crops in cooled greenhouses, which constitutes 80 to 90% of the water used. , which severely reduces the water and carbon footprint of food production, which made us invent a food system that requires only one-tenth of the amount of fresh water and energy to produce sustainable agricultural crops.”

The Red Sea Farms Company was established in 2018, and it seeks through the technology used to control the environment of the agricultural product through cultivation and production in a closed environment.

The company’s main crop is cherry tomatoes, but it has recently started growing other crops such as strawberries, and the company currently produces nearly 50 tons of tomatoes annually.

Red Sea Farms has already tested its technology with a pioneering salt-water greenhouse in the west of the kingdom at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

Red Sea Farms says investors in the company include Aramco’s Center for Entrepreneurship (Wa’ed), the Future Investment Initiative Foundation, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and Dubai-based Global Ventures.

Fresh water is scarce in the desert Gulf region, as is arable land.

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