Simply Fresh is carrying out the phase 1 of its construction project, which includes 8.8 hectares (22 acres) of retractable-roof greenhouses and a state-of-the-art baler to help ensure a continuous supply of fresh produce to help meet the demand of the growing middle-class population. The facility will initially produce nutraceutical crops such as turmeric, ginger, and other medicinal herbs, as well as vegetable crops, such as tomato, pepper, cucumber, and lettuce. The subsequent expansion will allow producing berry crops, such as strawberries and blueberries.
Sachin Darbarwar, the CEO of Simply Fresh, is directing this project. Several years ago, Sachin built 1.2 hectares (4 acres) of greenhouses where he grew turmeric, ginger, lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, and some berries. The market's response convinced him that there was significant demand for high-quality products.
Sachin was able to obtain funds from Proterra Investment Partners (a global private equity fund focused on investments in natural resources), Mylktree (which is promoted by Mr. Sunil R, the founder of a leading dairy processing company in South India), and Harvest Capital (that is promoted by Mr. Kishore M, a serial investor in new technology companies). They formed a team to create a large-scale project (~ 32 hectares) that would allow the production of significant volumes of crops under a single brand, which would allow the main nutraceutical and F&F companies to ensure a constant supply of raw material that is fully traceable and free of prohibited substances, and so that consumers can buy fresh and safe products for their families 12 months a year. To ensure that their customers can trust their vegetables or berries, each package will have a QR code that customers can scan to accurately know the product's origin and distribution route.
The final design selected for this project can produce crops profitably and sustainably throughout the year by optimizing the cultivation environment as follows:
It makes the most of the natural environment of open field cultivation during late autumn, winter, and early spring.
Crops can also be developed during hot and dry summers.
It also allows developing crops during the hot and humid monsoon season, when traditional cooling systems do not work efficiently.
The crops are grown in a completely protected environment when necessary.
It also consumes less than 5-10 kWh of electricity per hectare per day.
A minimum amount of water is used to cool the crop.
Rainwater is collected to ensure a continuous supply of clean and fresh water.
All the greenhouses being built are Cravo greenhouses with a two-water retractable roof and a secondary retractable cover underneath them to cool them. The equipment will be controlled by an AI-based computer system that has been specially designed to control retractable roofs.
In addition to the production greenhouses, a world-class R&D laboratory, a tissue culture laboratory, and an automated nursery are being built.
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