UAE harvesting its first batch of 'Red gold' saffron through vertical farming methods

As preparations are made for the first saffron harvest in the UAE, vertical fields of "red gold" have been created in Sharjah without the use of water, soil, or fertilisers.

Around 150,000 crocus sativa bulbs from the Netherlands have been grown in vertical farms in Al Zubair by agricultural technology company VeggiTech.
Given the labor-intensive technique needed to cultivate the crops, saffron is one of the most expensive spices in the world.
The saffron is collected from the roughly three small stigmas that are produced by each blossom. It is anticipated that this first harvest cultivated in the UAE will produce roughly 5.5 kg of saffron.
According to VeggiTech's quality manager Ghazal Shafiee, this is the first time saffron has been cultivated in the area in this manner utilising vertical farming.
"Saffron is a delicate crop to produce, and not everyone possesses the knowledge necessary to cultivate it in this manner.
"With this method, we can produce more with considerably less space needed.
A growing variety of crops are being produced in the UAE through vertical farming as a result of water scarcity and climate change.
Some farms are able to produce 10 times as much as they could with conventional farming practises thanks to the approach, which employs precisely controlled soil techniques and artificial LED lights to boost growth.
Due to the difficult growth conditions, the approach is especially helpful in the United Arab Emirates.
Before the saffron bulb is ready to be harvested, it must achieve maturity, which takes nine to ten months.
Each purpose-built laboratory has a specialised air handling machine to provide the exact CO2, light, temperature and humidity levels needed for saffron to develop.
Each bulb produces two to three flowers, and we manipulate the temperature to provide the ideal atmosphere for it to thrive, according to Iranian native Ms. Shafiee.
"Once the flowers start to bloom, the bulbs are moved to the greenhouse to prepare for the following phase of the crop cycle.
Saffron may be cultivated anywhere, but cultivating the ideal atmosphere for it is difficult. “Saffron can be grown anywhere, but the challenge is creating the perfect environment for it.”
Posted On : 02/11/2022