The Government's plans to create a vertical farming industry on the island have been put on hold after the overseas company behind the scheme reported massive losses. The Bermuda Economic Development Corporation had partnered with Florida-based Kalera to set up a Bermuda subsidiary of the company.
In September, Jason Hayward, the Minister of the Economy, trumpeted the initiative as one of the four cornerstones of the Government's economic recovery plan. And last month David Burt, the Premier, said that "a deal had been done" that was due to go before Cabinet within weeks.
But figures for the third quarter of this year show that the parent company made a gross operating loss of $20.7 million in the three months up to the end of September. And the disappointing results have forced Kalera to pull the plug on its foreign operations to focus on its US farms.
Last night Erica Smith the executive director of the BEDC confirmed that a Bermuda branch of Kalera could now be in jeopardy. Ms. Smith said: "At this time, the international partner for the vertical farm initiative has undertaken a strategic review that may potentially impact plans contemplated in Bermuda. Until we understand the implications of this strategic review, actions on this initiative have been paused.
"The ultimate goal of the vertical farming initiative is to reverse the unsustainable trend of reliance on imports for our country while reducing food costs for consumers.
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