Saudi Arabia has partnered with the Dutch greenhouse business Van Der Hoeven to establish a “synthetic climate” and cultivate food in inhospitable terrain. On the fringes of its cutting-edge city of Neom, the kingdom intends to construct a horticulture oasis, according to Bloomberg.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is investing $500 billion in the Neom project, which aims to develop a high-tech city in the Tabuk province’s temperate northwest. The smart city planners place a high priority on food security.
The city wants to “redefine the ways we produce, distribute, and consume food,” according to the Neom website.
Saudi Arabia is currently developing a horticultural oasis in an area the size of 15 soccer fields as a step toward achieving this goal. According to a Bloomberg report, it is Saudi Arabia’s largest food technology investment because the country imports food because of its desert terrain and hot summers.
Two test facilities will be built by the company outside of Neom as part of a $120 million contract Van Der Hoeven has with the Saudi government. According to the article, Van Der Hoeven will also maintain and run the facilities for a number of years.
CEO of Van Der Hoeven Michiel Schoenmaeckers stated in an interview that “we are creating a synthetic climate where outdoor growing is difficult.”
Saudi Arabia intends to use the desert as a test site for Neom and offer more effective solutions “to food production in water-scarce environments, developing scalable models for the rest of the world as climate change accelerates and arable land retreats”.
One of Neom’s objectives is to serve as a “lighthouse for the world in shaping the future of food”, as well as to find more effective and scalable methods of food production, support Saudi Arabia’s efforts to achieve food security and self-sufficiency, and to enable people to lead better lives.
The word “new” in Greek and the word meaning “future” in Arabic are combined to form the word “neom.” The project aims to reimagine humanity’s future through the use of cutting-edge technology and environmentally friendly practices.