“We wanted to create a primary food production platform to boost perishable leafy production. We feel the need for CEA cultivation is increasing strongly in Asia. Therefore, we want to position ourselves accordingly,” says Mark Wee, Marketing manager at VertiVegies.
VertiVegies is a Singaporean Indoor Farm & Agri-Tech Solutions Company, committed to sustainable urban food production and community well-being. The company is part of a family of companies under Singapore headquartered Agrimax Ventures, that are collectively working to make a positive contribution to our planet.
Vertivegies operates four distinct verticals – Food production, Agrifood Solutions, Education and Training, as well as Seed Research and Breeding. These verticals have been active in Singapore, China and India.
Expanding into a bigger farm
“In 2022, we will have 1500m2 of farm area here in Singapore. This will be shared between our own farms and partner farms. The planned output is 12-14 MT of vegetables per month with an average planting point weight of 80-100 grams. Our volumetric production varies per location, and our grow height ranges from 3 to 5 meters. We are also looking into various medicinal plants as potential new crops for mid-term product offerings,” Mark adds.
Contributing to the country’s self-sufficiency
Mark explains that Singapore as a small island state, we must test and adopt resilient and productive food technologies. VertiVegies is therefore doing its best to synchronize its planning with the Government’s food sufficiency targets. Although vertical farming on its own cannot be a single solution, it is an important piece in the basket of solutions that Singapore can rely upon.
He adds, “The Singaporean Government is encouraging the use of more productive technology for farmers, both existing and new. This is necessary so that we can increase the productivity within the existing, limited farm area. We see all types of farms co-existing and are very much needed as part of the overall solution for Singapore’s food security.”
Ongoing investment in R&D
However, local production is not without its hurdles. “When farming locally, we are faced with the challenge of increasing productivity so that our unit costs become low enough to be competitive with imported produce. Needless to say, farming in Singapore means that our costs are much higher than in the countries we import from. Ongoing investment in research on crops and technology can continue to ensure we remain competitive”
Apart from research, what shouldn’t be underestimated according to Mark is the importance of knowing your plant sciences as a grower. “Knowing your plants helps to get more productive. At the end of the day, we are still growers that produce plants, and these plants have their own biological processes that need to be fully understood. Technology is nothing more than an enabler."
For that reason, Mark encourages beginning growers to not recreate the wheel. “Agriculture is an age-old profession, and controlled farming has been around long enough to give all new budding growers enough data, simply by observation. Repeating mistakes that others have made is costly, both in terms of time and money. The sector needs more people to enter and innovate.”