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Sani Ibrahim
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa,University
Agricultural economics and extension
100Level, Nigeria.
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Infarm, a vertical farming startup, has raised $170m in its
latest funding round as investors bet on consumers wanting
more locally produced and organic produce in the coming
years.
The Berlin-based company’s latest funding round was led by
LGT Lightstone, and brings its funding total to $300m so far.
The startup, founded in 2013, installs modular farming
systems in supermarkets, grocery stores and even schools,
meaning consumers can pick produce themselves from the
supermarkets.
They have already won deals with big supermarkets like Marks
& Spencer and Selfridges in the UK, Kroger in the US, Aldi
Süd in Germany and Intermarche and Auchan in France.
Infarm also has deals with Amazon Fresh in Germany,
Switzerland and France.
Erez Galonska, chief executive of Infarm said that the
pandemic had accelerated people’s desire to make urgent
changes to the way that we produce food.
“The coronavirus pandemic has put a global spotlight on the
urgent agricultural and ecological challenges of our time,” he
said. “As we scale to 5,000,000 sq ft in farming facilities
across Europe, North American, and Asia by 2025, this
investment will help us make a truly global impact.”
The company now harvests 500,000 plants a month and says
that its modular system uses 99.5% less space than soil-based
agriculture, as well as 95% less water and 90% less
transportation. The electricity used to power the units largely
comes from renewables and the company never uses
pesticides.
The company’s aim, it says, is to respond to eco-conscious
consumers’ demand for locally produced, fresh produce — and
nothing is more local than having the actual farm itself in your
nearest supermarket.
At present, however, Infarm mainly grows herbs and leaves in
its vertical farms, including basil, pak choi, coriander, thyme,
and rocket —- as well as mushrooms. One big challenge for
the company is how it moves to produce a wider range of
produce.
Dharmash Mistry, from LGT Lightstone, said they were pleased
to work with the company at a time when the need for
sustainable food systems is becoming more critical.
“With over $1bn of customer demand, partnerships with 17 of
the top 50 global grocers, Infarm is set to revolutionize the
market behind a unique ‘demand-led’ modular business
model.”

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