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In their cutting-edge greenhouses, 18 Artesanos can produce 2.5 times more tomatoes than regular producers

Hydroponic agriculture gains ground in Colombia

Andy Nathan Goldstein Kirmayer and Joel Alejandro Cohen Almosni, from Venezuela, created 18 Artesanos, a revolutionary tomato company in Colombia.

In a 5,000-square-meter hydroponic greenhouse located in Fomeque (Cundinamarca), the company produces 2.5 times more fruits per square meter than a traditional producer. The company produces a total of 90 tons of different tomato varieties a year. "The technology we use allows our crops to be more productive and yield a quality product that is valued in the capital's best restaurants, clubs, and hotels."

"We decided to start our project with a small investment. We implemented greenhouses and a hydroponics system that would allow us to grow our product using techniques we learned in other countries and with cutting-edge technology," stated Joel Cohen, commercial director of the company.

"The most striking thing is the infrastructure of the greenhouse. It is metallic and much higher than the traditional greenhouses in the country. The plants are hung at almost twice the height used in the traditional system. We hang them at almost 2.5 meters which allows the plant to develop faster and more widely. In the traditional system, it's usually less than 2 meters," Cohen stated.

In addition, the roof of their greenhouses is covered with Israeli anti-condensing plastic sheets that filter out a certain range of light that isn't good for tomatoes. This range of light bounces off the sheets, which lets the positive ones pass, scattering them so that they are more effective.

"The roof has a strip that can work as an air vent. It is wider than what is normally used in greenhouses, which generates a kind of swirl that draws hot air and keeps the air fresh inside the greenhouse."

The company grows a total of 11 different varieties of tomatoes in its facilities. "We are always testing new seeds, finding what works for us and discarding what doesn't. We are at the forefront of looking for new lines that are attractive to our customers and that are more productive on our farms," Cohen added.

The company projects to close this year with total sales of $800 million.



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