Pegasus Agriculture, a Dubai-based hydroponic farm investment company and operator whose backers include institutions and banks, has bought 77 acres of Florida land to build a hydroponic farm and gain a foothold in north American markets.
The price of the 15-year lease, with an option to extend by an additional 15 years, was not disclosed. However, Pegasus said the move would bolster the company’s international expansion and help increase production in climate change-stressed Florida.
Until now, Pegasus has focused on building and operating farms in the Middle East, where some states, including Saudi Arabia, have restricted the traditional agricultural production of crops due to lack of water. Its strategy has been to expand in the Middle East and North Africa, with a focus on improving food security for Gulf Cooperation Council nations.
Pegasus’s first hydroponic farm began operating in Oman in 2013, and it has since built farms in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. Produce from its hydroponics facilities in the region are shariah law compliant, according to Pegasus.
Investors include banks and institutional investors, according to its website, and the company also benefits from government-backed loans in some of the regions where it operates.
It has plans to build more farms in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Kuwait, Qatar, Malaysia and Singapore.
Florida is one of the top crop-producing states in the US and enjoys annual rainfall far above the national average. However, declining freshwater availability, saltwater intrusion, land loss, drought, and increasing temperatures are expected to stress agricultural crops and decrease yields, according to the US EPA.