December 1, 2022

Mowreq and YesHealth Group sign deal to build Saudi Arabia’s largest indoor vertical farm

Khder Al-Ghamdi, Modar Nazer, Dana Enany, Jesper Hansen, Obeid Bin Zagr

Agtech companies, Mowreq (Mowreq Specialized Agriculture Co.) and YesHealth Group (YesHealth Agri-Biotechnology Co.,Ltd.) have initiated a joint venture to develop a network of indoor vertical farms throughout the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The JV, Vertical Farms Company, will begin by building the Kingdom’s largest indoor vertical farm in Riyadh. This first farm is slated to be fully operational by Q4 2023, providing jobs and healthy, sustainable produce to the local community.

• This will be the largest indoor vertical farm in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the tallest in the Middle East region.
• The farm will supply 2,000 kilograms of fresh leafy vegetables, daily, to consumers in Riyadh and the surrounding area.
• Located 20 kilometers from central Riyadh, the farm will offer a low-carbon alternative to imported produce, saving countless food miles.

Mowreq already supplies vertically farmed produce to consumers in Jeddah, under the brand name Janafarm. It employs 15 people, producing healthy and fresh leafy vegetables around the year. In order to deliver on this next step in the Kingdom’s agricultural development, Mowreq aims to leverage its experience and know-how in the Saudi Market, combined with the technology and know-how of YesHealth Group.

YesHealth Group currently operates a profitable, large-scale indoor vertical farm in Taiwan, and cooperates across several indoor vertical farms in Europe. Its combined operations employ more than 150 people worldwide and produce over 2,500 tons of leafy vegetables, annually. The Riyadh farm will be operated jointly by Mowreq and YesHealth Group during a 3-year technology transfer phase, training local talent to take over the long-term operations.

Total investment in the Mowreq and YesHealth Group JV, Vertical Farms Company, is valued at more than 100 million Saudi Arabian Riyals, or approximately 28 million US dollars at the current exchange rate. The project is backed by Saudi venture capital and funds.

In line with the Saudi 2030 Vision, the partners will create 50 full time jobs at the Riyadh farm, and they aim to create more jobs over the next five to ten years, leading development of the controlled environment agriculture industry. Education will be provided to advance talent, giving the youth the skills they need for jobs of the future. Continued development of the industry’s infrastructure will further diversify the economy, helping to ensure food security, and promote healthy lifestyles.

Modar Hisham Nazer, Co-founder, Mowreq Specialized Agriculture
“We built the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s first indoor vertical farm and now we’re building the Kingdom’s largest indoor vertical farm,” says Modar Hisham Nazer, Co-founder of Mowreq and Chairman of Vertical Farms Company. “This massive, new farm that we’re building in Riyadh, will enable more of our compatriots to benefit from locally-produced Janafarm products, which are always clean, fresh, and free of pesticides.”
Jesper Hansen, Chief Commercial Officer, YesHealth Group
“YesHealth Group has overcome the operational challenges of indoor vertical farming in Subtropical Asia,” says Jesper Hansen, CCO of YesHealth Group. “The Middle East is our next challenge. We will guide the Riyadh farm through its initial phase of operation, with the aim of maximizing output and efficiency at the high level we achieve in our Taiwan farm.”

Riyadh Farm Facts

• Location: Riyadh Industrial Area (2)

• Construction Timeline: Q1 2023 - Q4 2023

• Built Area: 4,500 sq. meters

• Height of Vertical Farm: 16 meters

• Total Cultivation Area: 20,000 sq. meters

• Max. Yield: 2,500 kg per day (based on lettuce) >900 tons annually

• Expected Daily Yield: 2,000 kg per day, including a variety of lettuces, cruciferous vegetables, herbs, and edible flowers.

• Automation: Full process automation from seeding to harvesting.

• Number of Employees: 50 full time employees

• Exhibition Area: Can accommodate >100 visitors per day to learn about indoor vertical farming and sustainable agriculture

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