Growing tomatoes 1800 meters above sea level. In Armenia, that's what they're about to do. Idromeccanica Lucchini has completed a on twenty hectares project there.
"We covered 20 hectares in two steps and now the production of cherry and beefsteak tomatoes is in full swing. We opted for hydroponic cultivation and for a winter cycle," explains Cesare Ghizzi, export sales manager.
Sustainable and profitable
The real challenge was to create the ideal conditions to make cultivating 11 months a year at 1800 meters above sea level sustainable and profitable. From a technical point of view, the greenhouse is 8.5 meters high and it is perfectly insulated thanks to a dual photoselective foils. The other important aspect is the availability of warm water taken from a nearby thermal power station.
"We have finished the second production cycle and yields exceeded expectations. The cycle goes from August to June and, also in winter months, we grow without artificial light as the latitude and photoelective foils spread the sunlight. A lot of study and research went behind it."
From a commercial point of view, the Armenian company grows produce to export it to Russia. These tomatoes have a long shelf-life, so they can reach even the markets most farther away.
"We provided all the technology necessary, some of which in partners with a Dutch company. In addition to the facility, the hydroponic system, irrigation, heating and the software, we have made available an agronomist as, at Idromeccanica Lucchini, we can provide assistance also when developing cultivation techniques."
The new production hub is found within an area with few economic alternatives, providing work to over 200 people.