The teams at Alquimi Renewables and Island Growers Caribbean© are implementing a unique business model to radically improve and protect how fresh produce is grown in the Caribbean. This model focuses on producing imported ‘cold weather’ crops in proprietary, climate smart hydroponic greenhouse farms. IGC intends to improve food quality, use organic farming practices, and ensure a consistent supply of produce to regional markets throughout the year by the use of these newly developed, 100% climate resilient greenhouse systems.
Alquimi and its strategic engineering and manufacturing partner, Sprung Structures Ltd.™, developed this highly specialized greenhouse system – IAT/Sprung Climate Smart Greenhouse – to support IGC farming projects throughout the Caribbean and other island states affected by severe climate threats.
“Our greenhouse system represents the new standard in climate resilience, which is critical to operating and insuring commercial farm operations in regions constantly threatened by cyclonic wind events and flooding. These are the strongest greenhouse systems in the world – and the only system that is engineer-certified to 175mph sustained wind loads and 202mph gusts, as well as being earthquake, flood, and pestilent resistant. We can now grow food during a major hurricane event,” states Ralph Birkhoff, co-founder and CCO of IGC.
Inside these greenhouses, IGC employs a customized, sub-tropical Shallow Aggregate Ebb-and-Flow (SAEF) hydroponic system, which delivers the highest potential crop yields. while using a fraction of the energy and water required by other hydroponic systems. “Energy costs are extremely high in most Caribbean islands, and fresh water is always a limited resource, so our farms employ low energy production systems and advanced water control systems to reduce our overall cost of production. As we expand our farms, we will also integrate solar energy generation to reduce operational cost.”
IGC intends to build a farm on every island in the Caribbean Region over the next several years. It is seeking to form partnerships with local landowners, farmers, and/or off-takers, and plans to operate independently in each jurisdiction. By the end of 2021, IGC expects to have four farms operating in the following islands: Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Lucia. It is also developing a dedicated resort farm project in Anguilla, as well as third-party projects in Puerto Rico and Belize using the IAT technologies.
Alquimi recently formalized a major strategic investment partnership that will allow it to implement an aggressive expansion strategy across the Caribbean islands. Under the new Berrycove Limited investment fund established in Trinidad and Tobago, Alquimi and IGC will start immediately with the first phase buildout of the largest commercial greenhouse farm in the region on a fifteen-acre site at Cove Estate, Tobago.
The new Tobago farm aims to produce 45,000 pounds of various berry fruits including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, in addition to a selection of organic greens.
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