Mexican vertical farming company uses shipping container farms
Sanitary conditions and traceability are some of the main problems faced by the agriculture industry worldwide. To confront these issues, two cousins from Mexico - Juan Gabriel Succar and Jorge Succar - decided to create Verde Compacto.
This vertical urban farming innovation allows farmers to grow in big cities without risk of pests and in sustainable conditions.
"We began to realize that a lot of water is lost and there is excessive use of chemicals in traditional fields. Now, people are looking towards the big cities of the world to produce," Juan said.
They began the company by researching various approaches to vertical farming. What they found was that places like the U.S. and Japan were implementing hydroponics in big cities.
"We recognized that in Mexico and Latin America there wasn't any kind of indoor production that produced vegetables 365 days a year," he added. This realization marked the beginning of Verde Compacto.
After its start in 2016, the company saw that it was a pioneer in Mexico. Succar said that while similar efforts are at work in other parts of the world, this the first in the country.
Similarly, they are the first vertical farming company to use Mexican technology developed locally.
"We also personalize and generate specific varieties for the people that will use them," he detailed.
In order to develop varieties to use in their farms, Verde Compacto created a system called Huvster. This system is housed in a 30 square meter sea freight container.
"This container allows us to produce, for example, the equivalent of five thousand square meters of lettuce. This is a lot more productive," said Succar.
The founders made it so that the system is a closed environment. So, pests are not an issue, emissions are contained, and conditions are controlled.
"It is versatile and productive. It can be installed anywhere - parking lots, roofs, etcetera.," he detailed.
Another advantage of this design is that climate change does not impact production. Along with protecting the temperature and water inside the system, it also uses less water than usual farms.
The future of the project
The company sent its first Huvster model abroad to French Polynesia. Currently, they are working on developing a business model to spread the technology to other parts of the world. The goal for 2020 is to develop a system that produces fresh strawberries.
Along with that, the team hopes to create a system for supermarkets. This is "so that they transform into areas with fresh vegetables that can be produced in the supermarkets themselves," added Succar.
In the future, Verde Compacto hopes to be an example for innovation worldwide. The company's pride in its sustainability, innovation and contribution to the environment is what they believe makes it stand out.
"We want to develop solutions through innovation and radio technology in order to make sure that the world's food is made in a sustainable way," concluded Succar.
Photos: Verde Compacto