“Despite the problematic land-use, agriculture is one of the main engines moving Colombian economy,” says Hugo Rojas Sotelo, co-founder of Porpora Lighting. “The national political conflict, illegal economies and poor state presence make armed groups take control of some rural areas, causing complications for people based in the countryside. We feel building this dream has also a social commitment with our farmers to give them advanced tools, helping them to obtain better quality produce which helps them to be more competitive. It also improves the conditions of the current agrarian economy.”
Currently, the Bogotá-based horticulture lighting supplier has supplied many small-sized indoor farms but is developing growing lights for larger farms in the near future. Their goal is to use its horticultural lights as a ‘sole-source modular solution' in vertical farms that can grow laterally as well as vertically. Porpora Lighting aims to increase its market share across Colombia by being more visible in the horticultural lighting sector, through innovating its product portfolio throughout the upcoming years.
‘A social project’
José Garcia, co-founder notes that it is worth mentioning that Colombia has very stable weather in terms of temperature, natural light and generous rain falls almost year-round. “This happens to be in cities like Bogotá and Medellín where our biggest customers are located. Greenhouse growers have a strong preference for the traditional working methods and therefore use low-, to zero technology for their crop growing, whereas they’d rather prefer to grow more traditionally with natural sunlight.
“We’d love to establish new relationships with educational institutions as we aspire to bring the countryside and rural knowledge to kids that are based in schools in the city. Therefore we’re hoping to collaborate with local research teams at universities that provide agriculture studies, so we can help each other understand food cultivation in a biodiverse environment as Colombia,” Hugo notes. The company strongly advocates for integrating urban agriculture into local communities, pushing forward their partnerships with local councils and reimagining healthier and more sustainable cities.
“The horticultural market is moving rapidly towards controlled environments, whereas we hope that Colombia will do the same. It would definitely be more beneficial in terms of better land use and motivating the carbon footprint reduction of many cities here. It’s a great way of promoting the consumption of fruits and vegetables in common sense.
Hugo says that they’re witnessing a new emerging form of agriculture integrated into the built environment in cities. They have seen great projects coming up to fight the hunger in cities, accommodating food safety by introducing agricultural projects into the city. According to the World Health Organization, “A green urban environment that supports health, in general, may also produce healthier workforces, enhancing people’s quality of life as well as their productivity and earning potential” . Another metric shows Colombia’s export of agricultural products increased in the last years . This means that we’re improving our agricultural sector, although we also have to step up our game in terms of technology and efficiency.
The team is gathering its experience of having worked on projects in Asia, Europe, North- and South America. Porpora Lighting’s co-founders met 10 years ago when studying in Italy. Surprisingly, they did not have a particular horticultural background. Hugo had been involved with architecture and lighting design, whereas Jose has been focused on optics and electronics as a consequence of his actual PhD studies. This alliance resulted in a blend of our skill-sets. “Right now, we’re really putting emphasis on the design and quality of our horticultural lights. We’re not as much focusing on pricing, which differentiates us from other Colombian lighting manufacturers I’d say.”
The company has two main products. BIOLETTA: a decorative floor-standing fixture for plants supplemental light in residential environments. “They’re ideal for taking the first steps in indoor cultivation, using it as a complement to the natural. It has a slim body and an adjustable height that allows the lamp for dual functions of illuminating your plant directly, as well as providing indirect light in the atmosphere.”
MAGAZZINO, a horticultural sole-source light system for use in residential growth of leafy greens. Ideal for fresh vegetables and herbs lovers (i.e. basil, lettuce, spinach, kale, microgreens, arugula) who want to grow their own plants even in spaces with small amounts of natural light. We also have products under development that can be applied for greenhouses cut flowers like roses and daisies.”
For more information:
Hugo Rojas Sotelo, Co-Founder
+57 300 213 74 81
Cr 13A # 28-21