• Sat. Jul 13th, 2024

Barbados and Canada to collaborate on agri-tech initiative

Agricultural technology (agri-tech) investment on a grand scale is close to fruition in Barbados, as a result of current talks with a Canadian service provider.

Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Nutritional Security, Indar Weir, recently held discussions on this area with Counsellor and Senior Trade Commissioner, Canadian Embassy, Marthe Lemay, and Growcer representative, Ted Wagstaff, at the Ministry’s headquarters, Graeme Hall, Christ Church.

Minister Weir highlighted the challenges of climate change and the need to build resilience in the agricultural sector. 

He stated:

“I’m pleased to tell you that I am on board, in terms of the Ministry wanting to participate in transitioning agriculture to the point where we are introducing technology to induce more young people to participate; truth be told, the people who are currently involved in agriculture are those who will not transition quickly to this type of approach.”

The project utilises grow boxes made from steel that look like a container. The technology, including hydroponics and data analytics, should help to revolutionise agriculture.

Growcer representative, Wagstaff spoke about the specifications of the grow boxes. 

“The custom 10-foot by 40-foot steel container, which functions as a hydroponic farm, is capable of producing 230 pounds of fresh vegetables weekly, year-round,” he said.

The Agri-tech farm produces a variety of crops that are susceptible to the harsh effects of climate change, such as leafy greens, which include Bok choy, spinach, romaine lettuce and other varieties of lettuce, and cherry tomatoes and strawberries.

Wagstaff also emphasized the importance of collaboration and investment in agricultural development funds to achieve these goals with a focus on improving food security and economic growth and highlighted the need to build resilience in the agricultural sector.

Growcer, a vertical, Canadian farming company established in 2015, enables anyone to grow fresh, hyper-local produce year-round using its hydroponic modular farms and proprietary technology.

The company aims to make Barbados a regional Agri-tech hub by establishing a manufacturing facility and multiple farms, with an initial investment of $1.5 million to develop five farms, eventually scaling up to a $30-million investment.

It further emphasizes sustainable practices, using 95 per cent less water than traditional farming and powering farms with solar energy.



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