Categories
AgTech FoodTech

Singapore Food Bowl aims to help regional agri-food tech startups

GROW’s Singapore Food Bowl program aims to help regional agri-food tech startups fast track their growth trajectory and commercialise novel technologies specifically relevant to Singapore’s food security agenda. The 12-week virtual accelerator allows for the local ecosystem to make a change together, by forming a cohort of local and regional startups to address the challenges and opportunities in food security and supply chain highlighted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore Food Bowl is targeting startups focused on technologies to accelerate & improve the production of Proteins (animal & alternative) and Leafy greens (controlled environment agriculture) as well as solutions that address Food Waste, Sustainable Packaging and Digital Supply Chains.

If you’re developing technologies that can materially improve productivity in the areas aligned with Singapore’s 30×30 food pillars, namely protein production and leafy greens,

Startups incorporated in Singapore or based in Asia-Pacific and having a minimum viable product (Pre-Seed to Seed stage in terms of funding) are eligible to apply for the accelerator program. Applications for the program can be filled by up to 7th of June.

Read more at Grow

Categories
AgTech Greenhouse

Hotraco Horti completed one of the largest agricultural greenhouse project

Hotraco Horti completed a large automation project in Egypt covering more than 1200 ha in 2020. It is seen as one of the largest agricultural greenhouse projects in the world. Hotraco Horti supplied complete automation for greenhouse climate and irrigation. The greenhouse project is an initiative of the National Company for Protective Cultivations (NCPC) and is located on an old naval base near the coast of Alexandria.

With this mega-project, consisting of 126 clusters of 6, 8, 10 or 12 horticultural greenhouses, each covering more than a hectare, Egypt is taking major steps towards self-sufficiency in food production and food security. For Hotraco Horti, the project was considered incredibly challenging and ground-breaking, in part due to its size and the tight schedule.

Hotraco Horti core business activity is in the regulation, control and monitoring of all greenhouse processes. They manage all major processes ranging from ventilation and climate control, irrigation- and water regulation, to management and energy distribution.

Read more at Hotraco Horti

Categories
Agriculture

Urban Agriculture: A national strategy in works for Luxembourg

Urban farming or urban agriculture is essential not only as an alternative to traditional production, but as an innovative solution to promote the circular economy and thus reinvent our cities. The Ministry of Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development, NEOBUILD and the Council for the Economic Development of Construction (CDEC) presented on the occasion of the conference “Living City: urban farming & revegetation of buildings” on 23 May 2019 the national strategy “Urban Farming Luxembourg”.

Urban farming, as a policy, could lead to effective balancing of economic and social interests while minimizing trade-offs. The benefits conceptualised in favour of the policy are:

  • Development of social ties by bringing living spaces, serving as a place of training, promoting reintegration and well-being of citizens.
  • Fulfilment of ecological functions like regulation of microclimates, air purification, preservation of biodiversity etc.
  • Stimulation of local economy by new activities where money stays longer in the local circuit.

Local production will also mitigate reliance on imports and serves as a buffer during supply disruptions to import sources, which contributes to nation’s food security.

Read more at UrbanFarming.LU

Categories
Aeroponics

Aeroponics: growing plants in an air or mist environment

Aeroponics is the process of growing plants in an air or mist environment without the use of soil or other medium. The basic principal is to grow plants in a closed environment by periodically spraying roots with a nutrient rich solution. The obvious benefit to aeroponics is the volume of plants that can be grown year-round on a limited amount of space. Once established, the aeroponics system can be adjusted to grow anything from greens to berries and tomatoes by simply adjusting the inputs. The lack of soil also affords a disease-free environment. For example,

  1. AeroFarms, the front-runner aeroponics company, have the largest indoor vertical farm of its kind in the world, located in Newark, New Jersey. AeroFarms’ claims to use up to 95% less water and zero pesticides vs. traditional field farming. AeroFarms has grown over 800 different varieties of crops and sees potential even beyond food production to extend to other verticals like pharmaceutical, cosmeceutical, and nutraceutical.
  2. In developing countries like India and China, Aeroponics technology is majorly used for mini-tuber (potato seed) production. This results in 7 to 10 times mini-tubers production from in-vitro plantlets as compared to cultivation under net house conditions.

The potential of the technology can be understood from the fact that, The Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, has launched a targeted incentive programme to accelerate the growth of the emirate’s burgeoning (AgTech) ecosystem and promote innovation. The packages are being dispersed as part of ADIO’s AED1 billion (US$272 million) AgTech Incentive Programme, established a year ago to develop next generation agriculture in arid and desert agriculture. The Abu Dhabi Investment Office, ADIO, has partnered with AeroFarms to focus on next-generation genetic phenotyping and organoleptic research while also tackling the challenges of desert agriculture from its new 8,200-sqm R&D centre in Abu Dhabi.

Categories
Articles

Factory Farming – A glimpse of future of agriculture

Farming is going to be the next Manufacturing. Farms, are becoming more like factories: tightly controlled operations for turning out reliable products, immune as far as possible from the vagaries of nature. By 2050, the planet’s population is likely to rise to 9.7 billion, a rise of 2 billion from now. Along with increase in population, there is a substantial increase in the lifestyle. Those people will not only need to eat, they will want to eat better than people do now, because of higher incomes. Since most land suitable for farming is already farmed, this growth must come from higher yields.

What are the changes happening in the way we grow our food?

  1. Protected cultivation: By growing plants in warehouses, shipping containers, and city-adjacent greenhouses, next-gen farmers claim they are able to eliminate the threat of unpredictable weather, waste less water, reduce transportation costs and fasten the production cycle.
  2. Data driven agriculture: Farming is becoming a branch of matrix algebra. Farm operations involve a set of variables, such as the weather, soil’s moisture levels and nutrient content, competition to crops from weeds, threats to their health from pests and diseases, and the costs of taking action to deal with these things. If the algebra is done correctly, the yield gets optimised resulting in maximization of profit.
  3. Lab grown meat: There may be an even better way to grow meat, the animal tissue most wanted by consumers, than on animals themselves. This means growing the cells in reactor vessels filled with nutrient broth. To make it similar to animal meat, the cells must be attached to fat and other related components, so the idea is to grow them on small spheres floating in the vessels. Fat cells, which add juiciness to meat, are cultured separately. Whether it’s chicken created in the lab, crickets and beetles ground up in energy bars or plant-based burgers that ‘bleed’ there’s no shortage of innovation when it comes to alternative proteins.
  4. Synthetic eggs: Researchers are developing synthetic egg white, using transgenic yeast to secrete the required proteins. Indeed, they hope to improve on natural egg white by tweaking the protein mix. They also hope their synthetic white will be acceptable to people vegans and some vegetarians, who do not currently eat eggs.
  5. Leather grown using biotechnology: Factory-grown leather promises several advantages over skins taken from animals. One is that it can be made in convenient sheets with straight edges, rather than being constrained by the irregular shapes that animals come in. Another is that it is more consistent than the natural stuff. It is devoid of the scars, marks and other defects to which real skin is inevitably prone.
Categories
Uncategorized

UAE agri-business firm Pure Harvest gets $100 million commitment from Kuwait’s Wafra

Abu Dhabi-based agri-business venture Pure Harvest Smart Farms on Monday said it has secured a $100 million multi-year funding commitment from Kuwait’s Wafra International Investment Company, the biggest agriculture technology investment in the region. Pure Harvest Smart Farms supplies tomatoes grown in an enclosed, environment-controlled farm to supermarkets – including Carrefour, Spinney’s and Waitrose – hotels and restaurants in the UAE. The Arabian Gulf food system is undergoing a monumental shift toward a technology-enabled farming model in order to meet consumer demands for affordable, high quality foods. The region makes a compelling case as one of the best places in the world for horticulture due to availability of abundant sunlight with energy and water-efficient climate management systems. The recent COVID-19 crisis and resulting supply chain disruptions further highlight the need for sustainable local-for-local food production capacity, especially for fresh, nutrient-rich foods.

Read more at ArabNews