by AlMaha AlMuhairi
  • 3 minute read
  • April 26, 2023
Exclusive: How This Emirati Agripreneur-Inventor Is Providing Smart Agricultural Solutions

As a child, I used to plant flowers in my home garden, but I gave up the hobby until I joined university, when I redeveloped an interest in gardening and learnt about the challenges of growing food in our arid region. Owing to a lack of educational resources for farming, I reached out to local producers and referred to the internet for guidance. Soon, I became a self-taught urban farmer, turning the rooftop of my house into a full-fledged farm.

After completing my degree in computer science, I turned my passion into my pursuit by becoming an agripreneur and inventor. My love of all things agriculture blossomed into a business that’s aligned with my personal commitment to sustainability. I spend around eight hours a week on my rooftop farm, which also serves as a laboratory in which I run experiments and trials on new agricultural systems, and gourmet fruit and vegetable varieties.

At just age 17, I invented my first food production system called the FreshFridge, a smart personal Microherb farm, for which I secured the first position in the ‘Smart Systems’ category at the Think Science Competition in 2017. Over the years, I’ve received up to 10 awards for FreshFridge in regional contests, and I’ve been recognised for my innovation in sustainable agritech.

In 2020, I established my agritech business named Mahaya’s, which specialises in creating simple agricultural solutions for regionally-based home growers and smallholder farmers. My aim is to support people with growing their own food. I’ve developed four products that are made entirely in the Emirates, which help in furthering this mission. They include the UAE online bestseller Mahaya’s Super Potting Mix, and TerraPod, an automated adjustable air pruning planter that’s a revolution in hybrid plant growth technology, which has recently been patented.

Among Mahaya’s agricultural specialties is passive technology, which uses traditional farming practices in a modernised way without the need for complex growing systems. This can enable anyone to grow produce in any space they have access to. As education is a focus for Mahaya’s, all products by the brand include a detailed ingredient list and usage instructions for the customer.

Apart from creating and trading smart agricultural solutions, Mahaya’s focuses on helping the local community expand their agricultural knowhow, which is critical to ensure a sustainable future. As a sustainability advocate, I often conduct free workshops and training courses along

with site visits and consultations to contribute towards the brand’s long-term ambition of supporting and educating one million urban farmers in the Middle East and North Africa region.

For the last two years, I’ve produced seasonal local gourmet vegetables using TerraPod and sold them to top restaurants in Dubai. I’m also working with these spaces to encourage the use of local produce and educate their customers on the artisanal varieties that are native to the UAE.

Growing your own food has many benefits, which include controlling the quality and safety of the items you consume by ensuring that they’re free of harmful chemicals and pesticides. You’ll also save money in the long run, as you won’t have to buy produce from the grocery store during the growing season. The ingredients you grow are sure to taste better than store-bought ones. You’ll also reduce your carbon footprint by minimising the distance your food needs to travel to reach your plate.

The practice encourages the youth to develop a sense of responsibility towards food sustainability by understanding how it’s produced and appreciating farmers’ efforts and dedication. And, of course, an unparalleled advantage is the sense of satisfaction you derive from connecting with nature and reaping the fruit of your hard work.

Visit and follow @Mahayasfarm on Instagram.

This article was originally published in Villa 88’s Spring 2023 edition. Subscribe here.

Next In