Agricultural technology advances in the Caribbean

Hydroponic farming. Image: Eirik Newth
Agriculture

An article from the Saint Lucia Star highlights some of the ways in which technology is modernizing agriculture in the Caribbean, with examples from Barbados and Saint Lucia:

Thanks to a boom in ‘green technology’ there are now a lot more tools at their disposal. The uptake of GreenTech among agricultural pioneers is helping to modernise the industry and streamline farming, as well as aiding the Caribbean in achieving its goal of food security.

“Technology has been the main driver of change in most industries, and agriculture is no different,” says Warren Kellman, Managing Director of Ino-Gro Inc, a hydroponic farm in Barbados. “New technologies are being created every single day around the world and people are coming up with creative solutions [to environmental challenges].”

Ino-Gro Inc is one of those creative solutions. Launched in 2016 by Kellman and a friend, the farm is the first of its kind in Barbados and consists of a 40ft shipping container stacked with walls of leafy greens and operated through a fully automated, online system. Kellman and his team can monitor and control the environment – temperature, humidity, LED lighting – within the container through an app downloaded to their smartphones. Sensors, timers and alerts feed them information in real-time, with all data available via the cloud.

The vertical farming model allows Ino-Gro Inc to practise high-density farming in a relatively small area. Kellman says the container is equivalent to one acre of farmland and produces around 40kg of produce a week, including three different types of lettuce, mint, basil and edible flowers. Demand is high and the produce sells out every week, with hotels, restaurants, chefs and the general public eager to buy local.

Ino-Gro Inc’s success, however, was not guaranteed. There were challenges along the way but Kellman says he was not just motivated by turning a profit. “When we started, we wanted to find a way to make money but also do something good. We import too much. The population of the Caribbean is only going to grow, we need to find more sustainable ways to produce enough food.”

Read more in the complete article at the Star website.

 

[Image: Eirik Newth]

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