Saudi Arabia has a reputation for embarking on endeavors that defy conventional expectations, as seen in initiatives like NEOM and various other gigaprojects. The country has now enlisted a Dutch greenhouse firm, Van Der Hoeven, to establish an “artificial climate” conducive to cultivating crops in regions unsuitable for traditional agriculture. This is in line with the kingdom’s strategy to construct a flourishing horticultural sanctuary adjacent to its innovative urban venture, NEOM.
Taking a significant stride towards this objective, Saudi Arabia is currently in the process of establishing a horticultural haven spanning an area equivalent to 15 soccer fields. This venture marks the most substantial food technology investment undertaken by the nation, which grapples with the necessity of food imports due to its arid terrain and exceptionally high summer temperatures seen in Saudi Arabia.
“A design, build and operate contract of this scale is unprecedented in the industry, and thus we are very pleased to have been selected. As Van der Hoeven, we have a rich tradition in creating sustainable horticultural solutions to the highest technical and environmental standards. The scope of this contract allows us to realize and demonstrate the latest technologies, with the aim of bringing the horticultural industry forward on a global scale in terms of carbon-neutral climate control, efficient water management, and A.I.-driven crop growing and harvesting.” - Michiel Schoenmaeckers, recently appointed CEO of Van der Hoeven