Alquimi Renewables and its farming operations group Island Growers Caribbean formalized a strategic investment partnership this week that will underpin an aggressive expansion strategy across the Caribbean islands. Under the new Berry Tree Limited investment fund established in Trinidad & Tobago, Alquimi and IGC will start immediately with the first phase buildout of the largest commercial greenhouse farm in the region on a fifteen-acre site at Cove Estate, Tobago.
Ralph Birkhoff, Co-Founder, and CCO of Alquimi and IGC stated “This new strategic partnership is the culmination of years of effort by my partners to access the level of capital and partner support required to expand our farms across potentially every island in the region. To accomplish this with strong local partners who share our vision right here in Trinidad is extremely meaningful to us.” IGC also initiated projects with local investment partners in Barbados, Antigua, and Saint Lucia earlier this year, and is supplying its technology and expertise to the new Aurora Resort & Golf Club in Anguilla to build out the first 100% climate-resilient organic produce farms in the region.
“The region imports about 80% of its fresh produce supply, and through our custom-designed hurricane-resistant Sprung™ greenhouse structures and our advanced sub-tropical hydroponic production systems, IGC farms will now be able to offer local customers commercial volumes of extremely high-quality fresh produce categories that are currently supplied by importation – and continue to do so during hurricane events.” Island Growers focuses on various green crops as well as a selection of berry fruits, tomatoes, and pepper varieties.
The new Tobago farm will include the production of 50,000 lbs. per month of various berry fruits including strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries for fresh local supply and potential nearby export. “Our plans for the Tobago farm include increasing scale of berry production and to eventually add a processing facility and begin exporting regional frozen supply.”
Sustainable vegetable crop farming in the Caribbean has been constantly challenged by local climate risks. Apart from the annual hurricane threat which begins each year on June 1st, St. Vincent & the Grenadines lost 70% of their traditional crop production from the ash fallout from the recent volcanic eruption.
“Our mission is to introduce a higher level of protected agriculture designed specifically for the region to overcome the multiple risks of farming in this part of the world, and start building national food security.” stated Birkhoff.