“Fortunately, there is a continued interest in next-generation and modern farming globally. The problem is clear. The Philippines has a chronic dependence on food import. A goal of mine is to have every fridge in the Philippines stocked with Future Fresh product. We want to build the largest farming network in the Philippines, beginning with at least 15 sites across the country. A site will be a combination of a vertical indoor farm hub and spokes of greenhouse growers and partner farms,” says Derya Tanghe, co-founderof Future Fresh, a Manila-based vertical farming company.
Future Fresh has two indoor farms in Metro Manila that contain 24 containers in total which are turned into indoor vertical farms. Their modern farming technology has gone through four system evolutions, as Derya explains, whereas their custom grow lights over 12. The total cultivation area from these two sites is around 1,250 m2.
VerticalFarmDaily was invited to have a look at their Manila farm site, of which we've created a photo report. Click here to view it.
The company currently supplies 50 different products. From its vertical farms they supply lettuce, leafy green, herbs, microgreens, salad mixes, fresh mushrooms, as well as mushroom powder, and greenhouse-grown produce from melons, tomato varieties, pepper varieties and eggplants.
According to Derya, more and more customers crave locally grown ingredients and food. One of the benefits Future Fresh offers is accessibility, reaching a wider market through an omni-channel distribution from retail and supermarkets. As well as its own direct-to-customer website, online partner sellers who combine the products with theirs, F&B and restaurants. On top of that, large off-takers and corporations. "The priority is same-day harvest, and customers are always shocked that the produce lasts weeks."
Derya Tanghe and Aaron Qui
Food hub: collaborating with farmers
"We're collaborating with greenhouse growers to supply an extensive range of products via our hub. These hubs will make fresh produce and vegetables less susceptible to supply chain disruptions and reduce food waste and food miles. Vertical farming is one answer to the resilience that needs to be built in agriculture and food production. However, talented greenhouse growers and farmers exist all over the Philippines. These are passionate growers. As fellow farmers, we understand the struggles they go through best and be the partner they've been looking for," Derya affirms.
The hub will be centered in metro areas with large populations and high economic activity. Future Fresh will implement an interconnected network of farms- local sourcing through talented greenhouse growers as partner farms and spokes, to deliver directly to the hub for same-day sorting and same-day delivery to customers.
A range of products available via the Future Fresh hub
Farm expansion in the Philippines
Not only is it the next largest and most populated metropolitan area in the Philippines to Manila and Davao, but Cebu also offers an opportunity to expand the Future Fresh brand and modern farming. Derya doesn't believe there is another modern indoor farm there, and thus, Future Fresh wants to be the first to settle there. "The farm in Cebu will be our latest innovation, moving away from container farms to a plant factory format. In terms of size, the entire farm site will be under 1,000m2," he adds.
Thus far, Future Fresh has raised around $3 million dollars. Now, they are going through a pre-series A funding round which will allow them to move forward with a new growth strategy of inclusive modernization of agriculture in the Philippines.
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Derya Tanghe, Co-founder