University of Guelph UAE Study Summary
CO2 GRO Inc. (TSX-V: GROW, OTCQB: BLONF, FRANKFURT: 4021) collaborated with the University of Guelph to do several business cases including the United Arab Emirates (UAE) greenhouse market.
In the past, GROW retained the University to perform scientific hydroponic lettuce and pepper grow trials using its licensed gas infusion technology that dissolves CO2 gas into water without bubbles.
Baseline lettuce and pepper plants were grown at a typical greenhouse level of 800 PPM of CO2 gassing. The best result was a 100% wet and dry lettuce biomass increase using dissolved CO2 hydroponic water over lettuce grown at 800 PPM of CO2 gassing.
Their UAE case led in part, to GROW’s Chief Operating Officer Aaron Archibald speaking at the UAE Sustainable Ag Tech Conference held April 1-2, 2019 and visiting a number of UAE greenhouses after.
UAE is one of the wealthiest per capital GDP countries globally at over $40K per capita ($407B in 2017). Its current inflation rate is under 2%. There are seven Emirates with Abu Dhabi being the largest city at 1.4M population.
The country is extremely oil revenue reliant. It is now focused on economic diversification before its oil revenue depletes with sustainable agriculture a priority.
UAE Greenhouses, Locations and Key Growers
UAE has supported greenhouse growth from 8,363 in 2010 to 15,340 in 2015. The vast majority of these cannot use CO2 gas due to ventilation.
GROW visited key greenhouse areas Al Ain (an oasis) with 9,394 greenhouses and Al Dhafra with 3,816 greenhouses. Major greenhouse growers in Al Ain include Madar Farms, Pure Harvest and Badia Farms.
As cannabis and hemp are banned in the UAE to date, the primary greenhouse crops grown are cucumbers, peppers and lettuce – micro greens. GROW has substantial grow and scientific trial data on peppers and lettuce – micro greens.
$272M Announced for Sustainable Ag Tech Research in the UAE
GROW met with the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) that oversees investments into the UAE including the recently announced US$272M for Ag Technology investment support.
UAE Free Trade Zone
100% Foreign Ownership allowed
Proposed Next Steps
Determine joint venture and/or licensing strategy and most likely partnerships with local CO2 gas supply companies, greenhouse manufacturers, irrigation companies and investment partners in the Middle East.
GROW is currently engaged with a number of these possible Ag Industrial partners to determine the optimal international market strategy for its patent protected CO2 Foliar Spray technology in 2020.
For more information, please visit www.co2gro.ca or contact Sam Kanes, VP Communications at 416-315-7477.