Pure Harvest Smart Farms acquires BayWa's interest in agritech venture
UAE-based agritech Pure Harvest Smart Farms is forming an alliance with Al Dahra Group by acquiring BaWa’s controlling interest in the Al Dahra Baywa joint venture which currently operates an 11-hectare smart agriculture production facility.
The newly formed Pure Harvest Al Dahra joint venture partnership increases Pure Harvest’s total operating capacity under management to over 22 hectares (54 acres).
Pure Harvest and Al Dahra will invest additional capital to enhance the farm’s capabilities, as well as expand its production capability into new crops to serve consumers.
Founded in 2016 by Sky Kurtz, Mahmoud Adi and Robert Kupstas, Pure Harvest uses hydroponic technology to grow fruits and vegetables in harsh desert climates. It has raised over $270 million to date in investment.
Pure Harvest Smart Farms announced that it is forming an alliance with Al Dahra Group by acquiring BayWa’s controlling interest in the Al Dahra BayWa joint venture, which currently operates a large-scale, 11-hectare high-tech controlled-environment agriculture production facility. The Al Dahra BayWa project was an early and important contribution to the UAE’s food security and sustainability objectives. It represents a successful partnership between a globally recognised international project developer (BayWa) and the UAE’s leading agribusiness & food security incumbent (Al Dahra). BayWa’s successful development of the Al Dahra BayWa project and its transition to a new, permanent owner-operator (Pure Harvest) is consistent with BayWa’s successful development strategy within its renewable energy business. This transaction represents the largest investment to-date in the fast-emerging GCC controlled-environment agriculture ecosystem.
The parties share a vision to make locally grown, high-quality, safe and sustainable fresh produce available anywhere, embracing the challenge of food security as a global issue that can only be solved through technology, investment, and collaboration. By combining forces, the parties can better serve the market, leveraging Pure Harvest’s proprietary technologies and growing methods to improve productivity, while at the same time combining resources for further research, development and innovation.
The newly formed Pure Harvest Al Dahra joint venture partnership increases Pure Harvest Smart Farms’ total operating capacity under management to over 22 hectares (54 acres). Further, Pure Harvest and Al Dahra will invest additional capital to enhance the farm’s capabilities, as well as expand its production capability into new crops to serve consumers. The three parties will continue to collaborate together to further food security and food infrastructure projects both in the UAE and in new markets, which could include additional production assets, renewable energy infrastructure projects, and other investments.
This transaction firmly places Pure Harvest Smart Farms and its new partner Al Dahra as the region’s most formidable high-tech, controlled-environment agriculture player. The partners have a shared vision to continue to champion food security, water conservation, economic diversification and sustainability objectives for the country, and together we will investigate both UAE and international expansion opportunities in the future.
Her Excellency Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said: “Climate change amplifies the challenges of water scarcity and limited arable land that have a negative impact on agriculture and food security in the UAE. Therefore, we seek to leverage state-of-the-art AgTech and innovative cultivation methods, such as controlled-environment agriculture, to maximise yields, optimise resource use, and reduce emissions with the aim of addressing the critical water-food-energy nexus. I am confident the new partnership will go a long way in boosting local agricultural production while enhancing the quality and variety of homegrown produce. The project supports the objectives of the National Food Security Strategy as well as our mission of transforming the UAE into a global hub for innovation-driven food security and a leading exporter of sustainable agricultural solutions.”
Speaking regarding this announcement, Sky Kurtz, Founder & CEO of Pure Harvest Smart Farms shared, “We are thrilled about this new partnership. We have always admired the Al Dahra BayWa project’s scale and immense market potential, as well as the existing owners’ collective global reach in agribusiness, renewable energy, building materials, and other sectors directly relevant to our global controlled-environment agriculture ambitions. By combining forces, we can improve our shared ability to serve existing customers, but also improve our capability to deliver new projects both in the GCC and other parts of the world. Pure Harvest is now at the scale that it can partner with formidable, global enterprises, making-possible much greater impact on the world. We are proud of how far we have come and look forward to entering new markets together.”
Gianluca Fabbri, Group Chief Financial Officer for Al Dahra Group, added: “Al Dahra is grateful for the longstanding and successful development partnership with BayWa, and we are already exploring collaboration in other markets. We are delighted to be entering this new partnership with Pure Harvest Smart Farms. Their innovative technologies, strong management team and world-class engineer team coupled with an incredibly fast growth trajectory have impressed us. We look forward to our future working together to deliver a more secure food future.
We believe current food security issues require new technologies to unlock economical and sustainable local production. This new strong partnership in the controlled-environment agriculture sector is an exciting and innovative piece of the overall solution. Aldahra and Pure Harvest, leveraging on both partners capabilities and assets, can scale up further such innovation in the UAE. Together Pure Harvest and Aldahra can now also capture synergies in the international markets leveraging on both capable teams and footprints.”
Finally, Georg Czerny, Managing Director leading BayWa’s interests in the project, contributed, “This project was an early, important contribution to the UAE’s food security and sustainability objectives, and a wonderful partnership between BayWa and Al Dahra. We are proud of what we accomplished together and pleased to be transitioning this large-scale production facility to a capable new, permanent owner-operator of our development strategy within our global renewable energy business. We will continue to work with both Pure Harvest and Al Dahra in many capacities, including renewable energy infrastructure, food infrastructure, and building materials supply, strengthening our shared vision for a more sustainable global food system.”
In January, Pure Harvest Smart Farms was ranked #2 in Forbes Middle East’s “50 Most-Funded Startups In MENA” for securing over $280 million of capital since the company’s inception. The company remains focused on delivering innovative food systems that make-possible local, sustainable fruit and vegetable production, overcoming even the harshest environmental conditions.