By Margaret Jackson, Benzinga
Vancouver, BC --News Direct-- AgriFORCE Growing Systems
With climate change contributing to more droughts and water shortages around the globe, the world is searching for ways to preserve this precious resource.
The United Nations reports that drought frequency and duration has increased by nearly a third since 2000, and, according to the Palmer Drought Index, about 27% of the contiguous United States is affected by severe to extreme drought as of the end of August.
Without water, fertile soil is turning to dust, and as the land dries up, the world’s food supply is feeling the impact.
A growing population and increasing demands from agriculture and industry add to the threat. And with news outlets sounding the alarm daily about the threat climate change poses to this all-important life source, consumers are demanding change in how agriculture and other industries use it.
Agriculture sucks up a staggering 70% of the freshwater in North America, and the push is on to find ways to conserve it.
Food production must increase by 70% to keep up with a world with a population that is expected to increase to 10 billion people by 2050. With water becoming increasingly scarce, cultivators must adjust how they’re using it while improving productivity.
That’s where AgriFORCE Growing Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: AGRI) comes in. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company says its intellectual property is transforming the future of agriculture through technologies that include automated growing systems and proprietary facility designs, among other agricultural tech.
Conserving Water Through Innovation
AgriFORCE believes that sustainability and innovation must be at the center of everything it does. The company uses technology to improve crop quality and yield while reducing water and energy consumption. To that end, AgriFORCE says everything it does is focused around intellectual property (IP) that it believes can drive innovation and create value through the entire food system.
As an example, AgriFORCE recently announced plans to acquire Dutch agricultural technology (AgTech) consultancy Delphy Groep BV in order to further strengthen its IP pool. The Netherlands is the world’s second-largest exporter of food and is known for controlled-environment agriculture, which is among the solutions being implemented to reduce water consumption. Greenhouses use hydroponic growing methods in which plants are grown in a small zone without soil, which results in more efficient use of water. Hydroponics prevents over-irrigation, and water can be collected and reused.
AgriFORCE with its subsidiaries is developing a system that collects the water that plants transpire to transport nutrients and cool themselves. Through active cooling, condensate can be collected and used again for irrigation.
Consider the following - while one kilogram of tomatoes produced in a field in Spain consumes about 60 liters of water, that same kilo of tomatoes requires only 22 liters in the average greenhouse. Using advanced technology like dehumidification and recollecting the water can further reduce water consumption to as little as 4 liters per kilo, according to AgriFORCE. That would certainly go quite some way in reducing water consumption by food cultivators.
Delphy has developed such technology for the Netherlands and believes it can be adapted to conditions in different regions around the world. AgriFORCE also sees opportunities to reduce water consumption through digitizing crop management to optimize resources.
But AgriFORCE’s work towards preserving this precious resource goes beyond the fantastic work Delphy is doing - another recent acquisition set to expand AgriFORCE’s IP portfolio is its planned acquisition of Belgium-based Deroose Plants NV, one of the largest tissue culture propagation companies in the world. This acquisition focuses on plantation crops like rubber and palm oil, which also have a significant impact on the environment.
Tissue culture is the replication of plants using cellular material and AgriFORCE says it provides a robust way to breed and change plant characteristics to help advance the broader pursuit of water conservation. Not only does this technology help save water, AgriFORCE says it also helps improve yields significantly - by an impressive 50% for rubber and 117% for palm oil according to the company. Other IP the company plans to deploy includes an IP bank acquired through Manna Nutritional Group, which gives the Canadian company a presence in the healthy snack industry.
Other companies in the agriculture industry striving to reduce water consumption include Archer-Daniels Midland Co. (NYSE: ADM) and Danone SA (OTCMKTS: DANOY).
AgriFORCE Growing Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ: AGRI; AGRIW) is an agtech company focused on building an integrated agtech platform that combines the best technology, intellectual property and knowledge to solve an urgent problem – providing the best solutions to help drive sustainable crops and nutritious food for people around the world. Looking to serve the global market, the Company’s current focus is on North America, Europe and Asia. The AgriFORCE vision is to be a leader in delivering plant-based foods and products through an advanced and sustainable agtech platform that makes positive change in the world—from seed to table.
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