Emirates Development Bank (EDB), the key financial engine of UAE economic development and industrial advancement, is displaying its innovative financing solutions and bespoke AgriTech Loans Program at the 4th Global Vertical Farming Show, GVF 2023 Dubai.
The two-day global show, which opened on Wednesday under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, brings together all the vertical farming players to connect, showcase their latest innovations, and engage in knowledge-sharing sessions and conferences.
EDB’s Agri-Tech Loans Program is the first-of-its-kind in the UAE, aiming to enable the modernization of the local agriculture sector by offering financing to farms, local growers, and food suppliers who are deploying new technologies to improve the efficiency and productivity of this vital sector. The program offers green- and brownfield project financing, capital expenditure (CAPEX) and working capital financing, and medium-term loans or working capital amounts of up to $1.36 million (Dh5 million) with competitive rates and a long tenor of 10 years.
Ahmed Al Naqbi, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Development Bank, said: “Food security is fundamental to the long-term health and wellbeing of the population and remains a top priority on the national development agenda. As the UAE’s development bank, we provide finance to drive agritech investments have allocated $27.22 million (Dh.100 million) in financing support for the UAE’s vital food security sector. Our aim is to contribute to improving food self-sufficiency, transforming the UAE into a regional hub for local food production.”
Al Naqbi added: “Through EDB’s innovative financing solutions and dedicated agritech loans program, we will support the growth of the UAE’s vertical farming market and agricultural technology initiatives that help localize the food supply chain in line with the UAE Food Security Strategy 2051.”
The UAE has become a regional leader of indoor vertical farms, attracting several leading vertical farming companies to invest and operate in the Emirates. In addition to using less water, no pesticides, and smaller spaces, lower electricity prices and growing investment appetite from government and private sectors add to the UAE’s appeal as an ideal vertical farming market. Market research predicts that the vertical farming market in the Middle East and Africa will be worth almost $5 billion by 2029.
Another highlight of EDB’s participation at GVF 2023 was taking part in a spotlight session with Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority to discuss funding and investment opportunities for vertical farming.
Abdullah Al Hamed, Vice President, mSMEs at EDB, talked about the significant growth rate of vertical farming in the UAE and the great potential of this market to support the UAE’s effort in greening the food value chain while accelerating the journey to next zero. He highlighted EDB’s financing solutions supporting agritech and the food security sector and its commitment to supporting businesses and projects that would enhance the UAE’s local food production capacities to cut reliance on food imports and promote modern, sustainable farming techniques.
EDB launched its five-year strategy in 2021 with a focus on five priority sectors that align with the country’s national development objectives.
These include renewables manufacturing, advanced technology, healthcare, and food security. EDB has a mandate to approve $8.17 billion (Dh30 billion) in financing support to 13,500 companies operating within these sectors by 2026.