In the middle of the Dubai desert, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed saw a cutting-edge vertical farm that can produce more than a thousand tonnes of lush greens annually.
The three-hectare farm, run by Emirates Flight Catering, was praised by the Crown Prince of Dubai as illustrative of the emirate's ambition to use cutting-edge technology to improve food security.
A three-story building called Bustanica, which is Arabic for "your garden or orchard," is located close to Al Maktoum International Airport. It grows four different kinds of spinach, kale, and lettuce.
Future plans include for the cultivation of fruits and vegetables.
The innovative idea is a partnership between Emirates and Crop One, a company that specialises in technologically advanced indoor vertical farming.
According to Emirates, it was the world's biggest farm of its kind.
Sheikh Hamdan tweeted, "I visited Bustanica Farm in Dubai, the largest vertical hydroponic-based farm in the world, which was opened by Emirates Airlines backed by an investment of Dh150m.
The debut of Bustanica Farm in Dubai "reflects [Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh] Mohammed bin Rashid's vision to use the most cutting-edge smart technology and adopt advanced technologies in the implementation of agricultural projects to achieve food security and self-sufficiency of our needs."
The plants are raised using hydroponic techniques, which don't utilise soil and consume between 70% and 90% less water than traditional agricultural methods.
The method of layering crops on top of one another to maximise the use of the available space is known as vertical farming.
The technique is viewed by many as a solution to the age-old issue of finding farming space in growing metropolitan areas and offering farming facilities in climates where it would not have previously been conceivable.
In a statement, Sheikh Hamdan continued, "We will keep developing new initiatives that utilise contemporary farming techniques to expedite self-sufficiency in fresh food product and support sustainability, which is a key priority for us.
Within the scope of the national food security plan, the Dubai Food Security Committee is regularly reviewing the opportunities and challenges that are currently present.
"Our objectives are focused on satisfying the present and future needs of Dubai's people and residents, including boosting self-sufficiency in the agricultural sector by promoting the use of technology and applied research in food processing and agriculture."