AgTech company RotoGro and fresh produce grower Freshero expect to reach agreement on a joint venture (JV) by the end of the year, a RotoGro statement to the ASX said today.
Roto-Gro International Ltd (RotoGro) is an Australian-based company with global operations focused on the cultivation of cannabis and fresh produce using its proprietary, patented, and patents pending technology in the stackable rotary hydroponic garden space.
Freshero operates across the wholesale, retail and food service space in Australia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
RotoGro has developed Rotational Garden Systems, Fertigation units, iGrow software and material management systems (RotoGro technology) that provide a fully automated facility from seed to saleable product.
RotoGro will supply the capital equipment, including its Rotational Garden Systems and iGrow software system. Freshero will leverage RotoGro’s technology as an integral component of Freshero’s urban vertical farming offering, while committing to exclusive long-term service agreements for the installation of new indoor state-of-the-art facilities and a revenue-based royalty per facility (to be negotiated back to back with retail supply agreements).
Freshero anticipates finalising construction of the Facility in Q2 2020 and outfitting the facility with the RotoGro Technology shortly thereafter.
Freshero CEO Tony Mahoney wants the company to lead the development of organic, urban, vertical farming and distribution centres for fresh, organic produce grown close to large urban areas. Mahoney wants the first facility to be a flagship, showcasing “industry-leading technology and design for cultivating consistent world-class organic produce”.
The JV will then expand across Australia and then overseas, he said.
The company is also working to secure its organic certification for products cultivated with RotoGro technology. It would allow the company to capitalise on high end products.
Mahoney said: “Working with RotoGro over the past 15 months developing growing protocols for various product lines utilising the RotoGro Technology, we are very excited to move towards a formal Joint Venture Agreement as we commence the construction of our first urban vertical farming facility.
“The RotoGro Technology is unmatched in the indoor farming space – the product quality and yield of both leafy greens and strawberries have surpassed our expectations. Collaborating with RotoGro is expected to be extremely positive for both companies and, ultimately, for consumers.
“We will be able to produce high-quality product on a commercial and industry-leading scale, all while utilising less water and less power in state-of-the-art facilities throughout the world. This joint venture will be game-changing and a win-win for everyone”.
RotoGro CEO Adam Clode said conservation and carbon footprint minimisatio were “critically important” to the company. “The joint venture is driving innovation and leading the future of urban vertical farming. Our industry-leading professionals have the vision and foresight to tackle the challenges posed by explosive population growth and exacerbated by scarcity of fertile, arable land and potable water.
“Our proprietary and patented technology is a necessary catalyst to secure our unique fully automated facility design as we take indoor farming to the next level. Our Joint Venture will not only benefit both companies but will benefit the industry as a whole.
“The proposed state-of-the-art facility will be the initial steppingstone for a long and prosperous Joint Venture, leading to further similar facilities throughout Australia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the rest of the world.”