In a region where more than 75% of the food that we buy and eat has been imported from 1000’s of miles away, is grown with pesticides and other chemicals and, is a resource burden on a broken planet — Krispr wanted to change that by moving our farms from far and away, to the cities where their produce is eaten — using less land, less water and no pesticides. Krispr’s indoor vertical farm cultivates nutritious, fresh, beyond organic produce — all year round. The hyperlocal farm to table produce can be delivered to customers within a few hours of harvest ensuring peak nutrition and optimal freshness. Khadija Hasan the founder & CEO of KRISPR, tells us more about Krispr creating a movement for better agriculture by helping transform food production and reverse nutritional decline—without damaging the planet.
What was Krispr’s Business strategy implemented after COVID 19 pandemic? What were the challenges faced?
We launched in the pandemic through aggregator e-commerce channels since a lot of purchasing had moved online. We are now looking at more mainstream channels such as B2B and retail. Covid-19 brought home the need for localised supply chains, especially for essential goods and services. There is also a critical consumer need for clean and nutritious food, grown without pesticides, which we hope to address.
What is vertical farming?
Vertical farming takes advantages of cubic space- put simple, we grow ‘up’ in levels instead of ‘across’. By growing in layers, we can grow more crops sqm and use land with greater efficiency. Produce that can be grown includes leafy greens and some fruiting crops. Using closed-loop water-saving nutrient systems and indoor environmental controls, Krispr’s farms can create the ideal conditions for plants to thrive, so they can grow within urban centres, even in harsh conditions.
How are you tackling the GCC region’s food security challenges?
Food security requires a food system to be well functioning and sustainable in the following areas:
The production of food
The distribution of food
The acquisition of food (how people get food)
The consumption of food
The disposal of food waste
Comprehensive strategies related to food security look at all these aspects. Food production for the UAE (point no. 1) is difficult given limited arable land, water scarcity and challenging climate. As a result, over 80% of the food we eat is imported. That leaves us vulnerable to supply shocks and global price increases affecting food availability and affordability. Any approach to farming has to overcome these growing challenges and arrive at a consistent quality and quantity of production. Our indoor growing technology accounts for the issues mentioned above. Environmental controls create an ideal climate for plants to grow, water saving systems reduce water requirements by at least 80% and because plants are grown in water, arable land is not required.
How Is Krispr Farm transforming agriculture in the GCC?
Krispr’s vision is to build food self-sufficiency without the ensuing land, climate environment, light and water dependence that traditional agriculture is affected by. We also want fruits, vegetables, and other food to be seen as the primary source of good health issues. Better eating, healthy body and mind and a strong immune system and ‘food as first medicine’ approach. People should turn to food instead of vitamins etc. to solve issues (see: absence of Covid vaccine, vitamin c and other similar sales shot up).
We are using technology and IoT to build systems to build systems that can grow in any environment, including the GCC. We’ve effectively decoupled our growing from climate, humidity, CO2 and temperature. In addition, precise amounts of water are supplied to plans, with the excess recycled, purified and reused, creating a virtuous water saving cycle.
How is Krispr transforming food production and reversing nutritional decline without damaging the planet?
In two key ways:
Without damaging the planet
We grow produce using water saving techniques and without pesticides.
No pesticide runs off in the soil, causing it damage.
Water is used sparingly – only as much as the plant needs and. The balance is recirculated, purified and resupplied.
No trees need to be cut to make way for arable land, we can grow inside buildings, of which there are plenty.
We grow in urban centres where the produce is largely consumed, this massively cuts down the length of supply chain and the carbon footprint associated with imports.
Reversing nutritional decline
Because of the demands for maintaining freshness during imports, produce is often harvested before its ripe and ready to eat. (see: forced ripening as well). Supply chains are not perfect and once a plant is cut it starts to lose its freshness and nutrients. Shortened supply chains (by growing at points of consumption) and harvesting on demand can improve freshness, flavour, and nutrition.
Visit www.krisprfarms.com to know more.