"The extreme African weather conditions make this market a perfect candidate for controlled environmental growth," says Francois Duvenage, R&D researcher at CAN Agri. “From wet tropical to extreme desert conditions, it especially means we can enable African countries to successfully grow their produce and sell a marketable product.”
Francois says the company has “two extremely exciting projects coming up, one project in Namibia starting in the next few months and the other is an international collaboration that we established and are strengthening.” According to him, the company is not only targeting Africa but also areas such as Eurasia and North America.
CAN-Agri has developed a multi-faceted solution to ensure our client’s overall support to successfully commission and sustain a CAN-Agri hybrid vertical-greenhouse. “We employ a six-phase approach where each phase is developed to ensure the client’s requirements are accommodated by detailed consultation agreements," says Francois.
“We believe that the time has come to harness innovative technologies to enable responsible and efficient food production, meeting the challenges and demands of the years to come,” says Francois. CAN-Agri’s operational procedure allows an advantage, that a farming unit is flexible in design and scalable to suit client needs. The vertical tower growing units allow for improved product quality and quantity through all seasons. Rows of fresh produce are harvested daily, opening space for new seedlings to be planted, forming a continuous daily production cycle.
As the travel restrictions are lifted, CAN Agri has encountered visitors both diplomats and private investors from several African countries. The interested parties are currently in negotiation processes and according to Francoise, the company foresees that its units will be established in these countries. “The earliest construction of a CAN-Agri greenhouse will probably start early August 2021, in our close desert neighboring country, Namibia.
This year, CAN-Agri has worked closely with a major retailer in the development of an additional market to amplify the supply and demand of its lettuce produce. Francois adds, “We have grown the sales of private markets to the extent that we are currently at full capacity. Our long shelf life, no-wash technique, and clean, great quality produce have been openly accepted by all of our clients, the demand keeps growing daily.”
According to Francois, CAN-Agri’s patented technology allows providing an unmatched scalable, commercially viable farming solution that is grounded in both scientific research and credible data. The company has developed an innovative hybrid farming system. In this way, they can share the knowledge and technical support to allow their clients around the world to create a successful farm. “We continue to prove that our system provides better yields through our enhanced methods.”
As of now, the company does not make use of additional lighting. “We have done in-depth studies with regards to the implementation of lighting coupled with the installment and operation of additional lighting, mainly for use in other parts of the world with low solar radiation. Operating in sunny South Africa it is currently unnecessary to implement additional lighting as ample solar radiation is available to the plants,” says Francois.
In terms of cost-efficient production, the company identified common limiting factors and found solutions to the challenges of successful production in hybrid greenhouses. “Our extensive research and development on operation specifics are always ongoing. We have our commercial-scale testing facility CAN-AGRI Greenhouse RSA and continuously produce and record empirical data to support our model.”
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Francois Duvenage, R&D plant propagationist