Crop One Solidifies Global Presence With Dubai Office
Sonia Lo Speaks on Panel at Agri Tech Conference
San Mateo, Ca., February 19, 2019
Crop One Holdings (“Crop One” or “the Company”), the world’s largest vertical farm operator through its FreshBox Farms brand, today announced the opening of a new regional office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The new office is part of Crop One’s plans to strengthen the Company’s global presence and lay the foundations for a long-term expansion strategy.
The opening of Crop One’s Dubai office follows the Company’s June 2018 announcement of a $40 million Joint Venture with Emirates Flight Catering to build the world’s largest vertical farming facility in Dubai. The 130,000 square foot-controlled environment facility will produce three US tons (6,000 pounds or 2,700 kg) of high-quality, herbicide- and pesticide-free leafy greens, harvested daily, using 99 percent less water than outdoor fields. Construction begins in the second quarter 2019 and first products will be delivered to Emirates’ customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges, in December 2019.
Coinciding with the Dubai office opening, Ming Zhu, Regional Development Manager for Crop One, has relocated from the Company’s headquarters in San Mateo, California to Dubai. His presence will boost Crop One’s ability to conduct business in and expand within the MENA and APAC regions.
“Opening an office in Dubai is the next logical step to expanding our international presence and further solidifying our relationship with Emirates,” said Sonia Lo, Chief Executive Officer of Crop One Holdings. “Ming brings a wealth of global strategy and business development experience to Crop One, and it is great to have him in Dubai full time to manage our day-to-day operations on a real-time basis.”
“Enhancing Dubai’s food safety and security efforts have never been more important than now,” said Ming Zhu, Regional Development Manager for Crop One. “I am very honored to represent Crop One in the region and serve at the forefront of the UAE’s efforts to gain agricultural self-sufficiency through the expansion of vertical farming.”
The UAE imports an estimated 85% of its food needs. Less than five percent of the region’s land is considered arable, costing the UAE upwards of $3 billion per year. Hyper-productive indoor vertical farms built close to the point of consumption, such as the one being constructed by the Emirates Crop One Joint Venture, are a major step forward for the region to secure its own supply of leafy greens, while significantly reducing the UAE’s environmental footprint. The UAE is actively encouraging agricultural innovation as a means to improve the region’s self-sufficiency. In July, the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment agreed to establish 12 vertical farms in the city of Dubai, allocating 7,600 square metres of land to the growing industry.
Crop One is the only vertical farmer with a proven model at-scale. The Company’s brand, FreshBox Farms, has been in commercial production longer than any other vertical farmer in North America. Using advanced, soilless hydroponic growing technology and proprietary plant science, Crop One grows clean, nutritional, tasty and pesticide-free leafy greens in sustainable, modular enclosures. FreshBox Farms’ leafy greens offer unmatched health benefits and freshness year-round, and, as a result of the Company’s superior capital efficiency, Crop One is able to produce the highest quality greens at 25% to 50% of the cost and at 20% to 60% higher yields than any other major vertical farm operator.
About Crop One Holdings
San Mateo, California-based Crop One Holdings is a vertical farming holding company for two subsidiaries – FreshBox Farms, Millis, Mass., and a joint venture with Emirates Flight Catering, Dubai South, United Arab Emirates. Crop One has been in commercial production longer than any other vertical farmer in North America. It produces the highest crop yield per square foot, at 25% to 50% the capital cost of any vertical farm, due to its unique combination of proprietary technology platform and best-in-class plant science. For more information on Crop One or vertical farming, please visit the Company website at croponeholdings.com or follow FreshBox Farms on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram for the latest company news.
About Sonia Lo
Sonia Lo is a serial entrepreneur and highly accomplished business executive who has lived in 16 countries, done business in 35 countries, and speaks seven languages fluently.
Ms. Lo is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Crop One Holdings, the largest vertical farmer in the world. Crop One’s brand, FreshBox Farms, is the only vertical farm today operating profitably at scale, and Ms. Lo is the only female CEO of a vertical farming company globally.
Crop One is expanding both domestically and internationally, including most recently in Dubai through a $40 million joint venture with Emirates Flight Catering. Ms. Lo also serves as Founder and Managing Director of Chalsys, LLP an advisory and direct investment firm focusing on business building, restructuring and asset management.
As Managing Director at Chalsys, Sonia has invested in over 15 global growth stage companies, raising more than $120 million. Prior to Chalsys, Ms. Lo was the co-founder and CEO of eZoka Group, a UK based internet startup-company that was sold to private investors in 2002. Ms. Lo is also a former Director of Global Content for Google, Inc.
She was appointed one of the top Global 100 Technology Pioneers at the World Economic Forum in 2000 and 2001 and was named one of Management Today’s leading 35 businesswomen in the UK under the age of 35. Ms. Lo earned her BA in Political Science from Stanford University at age 19 and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
She holds Professional Chef and Pastry Qualifications from the London and City College and completed certifications in Green Supply Chain Management and Zero Energy Architecture.