Sustainable indoor farming

UNS farms

3. Good Health and Well-Being 13. Climate Action

Overview

UNS’s biggest innovation relies heavily on indoor farming, unlike traditional farming, it is completely indoors and soil-less. UNS can be able to grow crops and plants that other farms will not be able to grow in the current environment right now.

Author

Amal Al-Emadi

Amal Al-Emadi

School

Zayed University

Zayed University

Professor

Wasseem Abaza

Wasseem Abaza

Innovation

The innovation consists of a combination of a few of the business innovations controlled by the UNS management team. UNS has been in the UAE for the past 30 years and it has been looking to branch out into other different fields. UNS has always had a keen interest in sustainability and agriculture. In that sense, they have relied their technological tools towards hydroponic farming process to make farming more sustainable in comparison to traditional farming. Hydroponic saves 90 percent more water than regular farming which saves from resources such as seeds and nutrients. UNS does not have any soil degradation since everything is soil-less.

A partnership from a family business are currently working with other technology partners in order to bring the new hydroponic technology into the UAE to optimize the plant growth as best as possible. UNS skilled people have embedded in the industry for the past 30 years, they have expertise in knowing the market and understand the way business is done in the UAE. Their technology partners are the ones who are bringing in hydroponics from abroad, as well as new techniques, new farming methods, that are not available in the UAE. They have a partnership from both ends.

UNS farm is able to output 1000 kilos of fresh leaves and vegetables combine partnerships with restaurants, chefs, hotels, supermarkets including union co-op and aswaaq. UNS provides customer food and certain mixes that they prefer to order that gets prepared on the spot. Some examples that Danish has explained is that customers who are employed full time in communities might call in the morning asking to prepare 300 boxes of kale by the afternoon which UNS will prepare and have it ready to send it to them. UNS also provides services through a government initiated application called fresh on table which recently started picking up orders from there.


Sustainable indoor farming

Inspiration

UNS Farms was created by a family that has been living in the UAE for the past 30 years. They are the founders Speedex, a company that offers affordable tools, so the original idea of UNS Farms came from the family wanting to create organic food which was affordable for people as well. They decided to branch out in the agricultural sector since they had experience in it. Due to their keen interest in sustainability, they wanted to create a soilless and water saving method of farming; therefore, hydroponics seemed like a perfect area to branch into.

UNS is keen to sustainability and from that passion, UNS decided to try a new venture such as hydroponic farming that saves water and other resources.

Danish Hurzuk is a business development manager at UNS farms. The way UNS farms started is through Danish’s father, who is from India. His motivation derived from his childhood where he has always had access to fresh food, fresh water, since India is a very agriculturally driven country as from a farm base which makes it very easy to grow and get access to fresh food. In the UAE, 90 percent of the food is important, and what we actually get to eat is brought from hundreds and thousands of kilometers away and it is not fresh food. UNS aims to bring the freshest food possible to all the other communities of the UAE. By that, their location is based in Al-Quoz at “the heart of Dubai” making it very close to many restaurants, supermarkets, and hotels. Travel times are cut down from weeks to couple of hours or minutes or a few kilometer drives. UNS makes it their aim to provide affordable prices while also exposing the maximum number of people to fresh food as possible.


Overall impact

The impact of the innovation on the business is that UNS is a very new market, usually all the food establishments are purely based on imported items. This makes UNS one of the few farms in the UAE who are from farm to restaurants instead from exporter to restaurant. In terms of society, everyone is able to access fresh green food that is way much healthier includes zero pesticides, zero herbicides, and non-gemo seeds grown are natural. On the other hand, UNS is extremely environment friendly, they save 90 percent more water because it is all completely soil-free farming with zero soil degradation. Whether it is regular or organic farming from around the world, the amount of nutrients that is being used in the soil is limited which makes the soil unfertile. The manager has mentioned that an article stated 25 percent of soil from farming in the world is now unfertile due to soil degradation while 70 percent of the water is also being used for agricultural purposes. In UNS farming systems, they save 90 percent on water which makes it a huge saving on water which has an impact on the environment.

The short term effects are greater efficiency to crop output as there is more efficiency per square meter of farming area.

There is 90% less water wastage.

No soil Degradation

Zero Pesticides and Herbicides are being used

Faster growth of plants under their ideal conditions.

The long term impact will include all of the above and a more environmentally friendly farming model. This will allow people in all areas of the planet to enjoy fresh vegetables without having to worry about the effects of climate change. The evidence in the way the impact started is through the growing positive sentiment towards vertical farming and increased research in this field.


Business benefit

Given that the idea of hydroponic farming, UNS is using this new method to develop the way farming techniques have been made in the past. by doing so, the indoor system has created a beneficial atmosphere for growing plants and vegetables that can taste better and arrive to certain destinations in the best condition. UNS is creating the new farm to restaurant channel which is not entirely popular in the UAE.

Social and environmental benefit

UNS seeks a mutual benefit to both society and environment in a way that it meets the needs of the society without compromising the future generations. This means that sustainable agricultural practices such as hydroponic farming provides improving the quality of people’s lives, in terms of consuming healthier food, as well as save earth’s resources from being depleted. This aims towards eliminating pesticides from being exposed to the earths atmosphere and save as much water to make it more long lasting.

Interview

Danish Hurzuk, Business development manager

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UNS farms

UNS farms

Dubai, Dubai, AE

Business Website: https://www.unsfarms.com

Year Founded: 2018

Number of Employees: 2 to 10

UNS farms is a local based indoor farming venue that specializes in meeting society’s food needs without compromising the state of the environment. UNS practices sustainable farming methods into their plants and vegetables with the main objective of improving soil fertility using soil-free farming, providing hydroponic process, and save resources in the fastest speed.