“Our business concept is to work with the best provider of each area in the horticultural sector. Therefore, we are working with a few manufacturers that are specialized in different horticultural solutions,” says Daniel Morales, Business development manager.
Virex Technologies, a Murcia-based (Spain) company that specializes in horticultural lighting ranging indoor growers in Spain and Portugal. From large-scale greenhouse operations to commercial cultivation or research-based operations. The company aims to constantly offer the latest vertical farming technologies on any request. “From robotic facilities (e.g. Sananbio UpLift) or non-automated facilities, we provide the vertical growing racks or deliver fully equipped solutions,” says Albert Rodriguez, CEO.
Albert Rodriguez and Daniel Morales
Falling behind on other countries
According to him, Spain is traditionally an agricultural country but didn’t keep up with other European countries by investing in aligning universities, private companies and the Government to implement the technological capacity of this sector.
Albert is expecting to see the Spanish vertical farming industry grow at the same level as other European countries because of climate change. “We need to convince the Spanish market that with smart investment in technology, we can fight climate change by making agriculture more sustainable, local and profitable. We want Spain to come back as the “greenhouse” of Europe again.”
In the end, vertical farming is not the solemn solution to all the damage that has been done in many years of aggressive, intensive and invasive agriculture. “I think it’s a great solution that allows maintaining many high demand crops in the market in a more sustainable, productive, hygienic way and with a high nutritional value,” Albert adds.
Photo credits: Virex Tech
The company has several partnerships with construction companies so they can set up facilities, do construction works and that can do the construction works, install the equipment. “Based on our business model, we can guide our customers from advising on the construction of the facilities to the commissioning,” Albert notes.
Ten years from now, Albert expects to be the biggest player in Spain, Portugal and LATAM (Latin America). Next to that, they expect to be a big AgTech consultant worldwide, with offices and different distribution centers in the main markets for horticultural solutions. “We want to make our own solutions with affordable prices but high quality to make agriculture accessible to all and contribute to improving the global productivity of food or medicinal plants for the high demand that awaits us between 2030-2050,” Albert notes.
Oasis Indoor Urban Farm, Pablo Mata Robles (CEO) and Caridad Navarro (CCO)
Misconception in technology
The company sees a lack of knowledge on a technological level. With systems, for instance, that have been used in other countries for years and, in Spain, they are not even known. According to Daniel, there is a lot of misinformation regarding LED technology due to the fact that there are many manufacturers that claim to be manufacturers of horticultural lights. “Our biggest value is to listen to the customers' demands and deliver economically viable solutions to reach their goals,” says Daniel.
“Most of the cases that we know of are that companies purchased low-cheap quality LED fixtures, and in the end, they needed to invest again. In order to achieve the PPFD target or replace the low quality LED fixtures with others of high quality that support aggressive environmental conditions and bring the PPFD level needed to increase yield,” he claims.
He continues, “that’s why we want to know every objective from our customers before offering any product so we can mix and match to their needs. We want the customer to have technical understanding in an easy way, how it works, and what is needed to obtain high yield.”