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Caracas: With the seeds now sown, will vertical farming take off in Venezuela?

“We aim to witness the widespread adoption of vertical farming across Venezuela and to inspire the next generation of farmers, empowering them with knowledge, resources, and support to embrace innovative farming practices,” says Kevin Jimenez, Marketing Director at G.T. Santa Hidroponic.

G.T. Santa Hidroponic established a hydroponic farm in Caracas, Venezuela, in January 2021 with the vision of transforming urban agriculture and contributing to sustainable food systems. The farm is located on the roof of an apartment complex in the center of the city and spans 30 square meters. The farm is small but mighty, having been designed with precision and incorporating aeroponic towers and climate control to create a productive, vertical oasis in the heart of Caracas.

“At our hydroponic farm, we employ technology and meticulous cultivation practices to ensure a consistent and bountiful harvest of fresh basil, with roughly 150 kg per month,” explains Kevin.

Basil takes center stage at the Caracas farm, with Genovese basil being grown and sold to local chefs, hotels, grocery stores, households, and basil enthusiasts. As Kevin notes, focusing on a specific crop has allowed their team to finetune its approach and ensure the highest quality and consistency in every leaf. With basil now mastered, the farm is considering expanding into other products as well.

“Our vision includes implementing advanced vertical farming techniques, leveraging automation and AI-driven monitoring systems to optimize production, and potentially diversifying our crop selection to include other herbs and leafy greens,” says Kevin. “By expanding our farm, we aim to further establish Caracas as a hub for innovative and sustainable agricultural practices.”

G.T. Santa Hidroponica strategically prices its basil at 30% lower than the supermarket price to show consumers that high-quality, locally-grown produce can be both sustainable and affordable. The company believes that access to local, pesticide-free produce should not be a luxury and prices its product accordingly.

The Dos and Don’ts of vertical farming in Venezuela
Given the success of its Caracas farm, G.T. Santa Hidroponica is actively exploring opportunities to build vertical farms throughout Venezuela and a “create a network of interconnected vertical farms that nourish the nation.”

For vertical farming to succeed in Venezuela, Kevin offers the following advice. First, do not rely heavily on traditional farming methods, as these do not optimize resource use and yields. With vertical farming and hydroponics, “growers transcend many limitations and optimize productivity while reducing water usage and eliminating the need for pesticides.”

Second, never stop learning. Kevin recommends staying updated with the latest advancements in technology, best practices, and research. Attend as many events as possible to gain insights from industry experts. Next, he recommends beginning small and gradually expanding only once you have mastered your processes. Finally, Kevin says that collaboration is key and stresses the importance of connecting with farmers, forums, and knowledge-sharing networks.

“Our vision extends internationally as we leverage the knowledge and experiences we’ve gained to introduce our innovative farming practices to different parts of the world. By doing so, we hope to contribute to sustainable agriculture on a global scale,” says Kevin.

For more information:
Kevin Jimenez, Marketing Director
G.T. Santa Hidroponic
Tel.: +679 752 2442