The Veracruz Group, which grows four varieties on almonds on its 1,300 hectares of groves in Portugal, will open a state-of-the-art shelling and drying factory in Idanha-a-Nova next year, marking a significant step forward in smart farming.
The 15.3-million-euro factory, which has been recognised by the Portuguese government as a Project of Potential National Interest (PPN), will bring 30 new jobs to the area and champion sustainable and traceable food production.
The group’s technological arm, Veratech, will be heavily involved in operations at the new factory, ensuring that all smart farming tools, including its blockchain traceability system, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, are implemented every day to monitor the route of the almonds from field to fork. Circular economy principles will also be applied to reduce waste, with any raw by-product either reused for fertilising agricultural crops or made into animal feed.
Veracruz Almonds’ award-winning tech-led approach to almond farming also ensures that the growing process is as sustainable as possible. Using industry-leading agri-tech systems, Veracruz Almonds can reduce the impact of uncontrollable variables, such as water scarcity, pests and diseases.
With one of the most advanced water irrigation systems in the Mediterranean, and revolutionary Aqua4d technology, Veracruz Almonds can ensure the highest precision water distribution, reducing water use in the orchards by 20% and achieving zero water waste.
Each of the firms almond groves are surrounded by multi-functional borders, which feature plant species that serve as shelter and food for beneficial pollinators, with the aim of increasing the biodiversity of the land.
David Carvalho, founder and CEO of Veracruz Almonds, said: “It is a very exciting time for Veracruz Almonds as we embark on major growth and expansion plans. The new state-of-the-art factory in Idanha-a-Nova is a significant step forwards in smart, traceable farming, and our industry-leading technology is at the very heart.
“The new factory will use our pioneering Blockchain system, enabling us to work closely with our wholesalers and distributers to monitor the route of the almonds, from field to fork, through a QR code. Not only does this allow us to control the whole production process, but also provides transparency for the end customer, which is becoming increasingly important to consumers. Our Farming Management System will also allow us to make the most of the data we collect, using artificial intelligence and machine learning to manage resources and reduce waste.
“By combining our tech expertise with our sustainable farming systems, we will revolutionise the production process, creating an efficient, traceable supply chain for the highest quality of Mediterranean almonds.”
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