DUBAI, June 7 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian agriculture technology startup Red Sea Farms on Monday said it had raised $10 million which it would use to develop commercial scale farming facilities and expand into neighbouring United Arab Emirates.
Red Sea Farms, established in 2018, grows tomatoes in an environment-controlled, enclosed farm that primarily uses saltwater to cool greenhouses and irrigate crops. Fresh water is sparsely available in the predominantly desert Gulf region where arable land is also scarce.
Red Sea Farms aims to have between four to eight farming sites across six hectares in central and western Saudi Arabia and in Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s largest emirate, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Ryan Lefers told Reuters.
“We are looking to also (grow) snack peppers, snack cucumbers as part of this round to really keep that focus around fresh (and) healthy,” he said.
The company plans to sell produce in UAE supermarkets. Its tomatoes are already available in Saudi supermarkets.
Red Sea Farms has trialed its technology using a pilot saltwater greenhouse in Saudi Arabia’s west at the King Abdullah University for Science & Technology.
Investors included Saudi Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm Wa’ed, the Future Investment Initiative Institute, the King Abdullah University for Science & Technology and Dubai-based venture capital firm Global Ventures, Red Sea Farms said.
To date, Red Sea Farms has raised $11.9 million. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)