Page 28 - Food & Drink Business Jan-Feb 2020
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Vertical take off
A joint venture between AgTech company RotoGro and fresh produce grower Freshero is set to showcase a new fully automated, vertical hydroponic farming system. Kim Berry writes.
ROTO-GRO International Ltd (RotoGro) and Freshero have embarked on a joint venture (JV) to develop a vertical farming system that they plan to take worldwide.
Australian-based RotoGro is focused on the cultivation of cannabis and fresh produce using its proprietary, patented, and patents pending technology with a stackable rotary hydroponic system. It provides a fully automated facility from seed to saleable product.
Freshero operates across the wholesale, retail and food service space in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
RotoGro CEO Adam Clode says conservation and
carbon footprint minimisation were “critically important” to the company.
“The joint venture is driving innovation and leading the future of urban vertical farming. Our industry-leading professionals have the vision and foresight to tackle the challenges posed by explosive population growth and
exacerbated by scarcity of fertile, arable land and potable water.”
The company will supply the capital equipment, including its Rotational Garden Systems and iGrow software system.
Freshero will leverage RotoGro’s technology as an integral component of its urban vertical farming offering with exclusive long-term service agreements for the installation of new indoor state-of-the-art facilities and a revenue-based royalty per facility.
Freshero CEO Tony Mahoney said: “Working with RotoGro over the past 15 months developing growing protocols for various product lines utilising the RotoGro Technology, we are very excited to move towards a formal joint venture agreement as we commence the construction of our first urban vertical farming facility.
“The RotoGro Technology is unmatched in the indoor farming space – the product quality and yield of both leafy greens and strawberries have
The stackable system means a smaller footprint using less water and less electricity.
“ [We] have the vision... to tackle the challenges posed by explosive population growth and exacerbated by scarcity of fertile, arable land and potable water.”
surpassed our expectations.” He wants the company to be
the industry leader in the development of organic, urban, vertical farming and distribution centres for fresh, organic produce grown close to large urban areas.
It is anticipated construction of the facility will be finalised in Q2 2020, with RotoGro technology installed soon after.
Mahoney said the facility will be a flagship for industry- leading technology and design tocultivateconsistentworld-
class organic produce. Freshero is also working to
secure its organic certification, which would allow the company to capitalise on high end products.
Mahoney says: “We will be able to produce high-quality product on a commercial and industry-leading scale, all while utilising less water and less power in state-of-the-art facilities throughout the world. This joint venture will be game-changing and a win-win foreveryone.” ✷
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