Alquimi Renewables and its farming operations group Island Growers Caribbean, announce the completion of the first 100% climate-smart and Category 5 hurricane resistant greenhouse in the region. Alquimi and its strategic engineering and manufacturing partner, Sprung Structures Ltd., developed this highly specialized greenhouse system to support Island Growers Caribbean farming projects throughout the Caribbean and other island states affected by severe climatic threats. “Our greenhouse system represents the new standard in climate resilience which is critical to operating and insuring commercial farm operations in regions constantly threatened by cyclonic wind events and flooding. These are the strongest greenhouse systems in the world - engineer-certified up to 175mph sustained wind loads and 202mph gusts, as well as earthquake, flood, and pestilent resistant,” states Ralph Birkhoff, Founder and CCO of Alquimi.
Inside these greenhouses, Island Growers employs a customized, sub-tropical SAEF hydroponic system that delivers the highest potential crop yields while using a fraction of the energy and water required by other hydroponic systems. “Energy costs are extremely high in most Caribbean islands, and water is a limited resource, so our farms employ low energy production systems, and advanced water control systems to reduce our overall cost of production. As we expand our farms we will also integrate solar energy generation”. The totally integrated greenhouse systems are naturally aspirated requiring no evaporative cooling or HVAC systems to save energy cost and reduce the risk of humidity-related plant damage.
“Greenhouses and protected agriculture have been used for decades in the Caribbean, but tropical storms and hurricanes have destroyed all former versions and very few of them were rebuilt. We’re introducing state-of-the-art Agtech to the region for the first time to provide a truly sustainable food production solution. We will be growing organic quality produce during a hurricane.” Alquimi designed its integrated greenhouse systems specifically for the Caribbean region taking into account all the inherent risk factors.
Island Growers Barbados will own and operate this first phase 5,200 sf greenhouse farm which will expand considerably over the next 2-3 years up to 75,000 sf. The company partners with local interests in each of their projects and grows only imported crops so they don’t compete with local farmers. Alquimi has recently announced a 45,000 square foot Phase 1 project starting in Trinidad & Tobago which will focus on fresh berry production and will soon announce other project starts across the region for 2021.
“Investor interest is extremely active at the moment as food security and improved food quality has become a necessity versus a luxury now,” states Birkhoff. “The region as a whole has always been over-dependent on food imports, and we’re doing our part in the fresh produce sector to substitute those imports, improve food quality and nutrition, and make islands more food secure”.
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