AVISOMO specialises in plant propagation in a controlled environment, increasing crop yields and sustainability in agriculture. “We are addressing some of the planet’s greatest challenges, such as food insecurity and environmental destruction. We want to use our technology to make the world a better place,” says Martin Molenaar, CEO of AVISOMO.
Agriculture is a major contributor to global warming, emitting more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector. Farming also uses 70 per cent of the world’s fresh water and leads to harmful fertiliser runoff.
In order to feed a global population of 10 billion by 2050, food production will need to increase dramatically. However, it is not sustainable to rely on conventional agriculture alone. This is why innovative methods of food production are needed to grow more food with less impact on the environment.
AVISOMO has developed an innovative trolley system that grows hearty seedlings. The plants can remain in the indoor facility until ready for harvest, or they can be moved to a normal greenhouse or outdoor field.
“Propagation is where our technology shines,” says Molenaar. “Growers use a lot of energy on propagation. With our system they get a perfect result every time.”
The trolleys are one unique aspect of the AVISOMO solution. Unlike other vertical farms, the AVISOMO system is non-linear in design, meaning the trolleys containing the seedlings do not follow a preset queue. Instead they are moved around the facility, either automatically or manually, and parked at various stations depending on the needs of those specific plants.
“Our system figures out the optimal route every time. Each trolley has a technical growing recipe for each type of plant. We store these in a software program and continually update them based on the growing data we collect over time,” explains Molenaar.
Currently, the AVISOMO system is mainly used to produce high-value fresh greens, but tomatoes and cucumbers have been piloted with great success. All logistics are handled by robots, and employees receive clear instructions on what to do with the crops coming through their work area.
The AVISOMO system can be easily incorporated into growers’ current production process. They can start with just one station and place it anywhere, then scale up over time as they see the benefits. This keeps growers’ initial investment cost low as well.
In addition, the AVISOMO system is designed to grow the most biomass, with the aim of increasing crop yields. “Our system prevents plant loss and lets growers shift their seed development from disease resistance to higher crop yields,” explains Molenaar.
AVISOMO also offers huge environmental benefits. “Our vertical farming system uses 99 per cent less water, 99 per cent less land, and 100 per cent fewer pesticides than conventional agriculture. Moreover, our system can produce plants indoors 365 days a year,” he adds.
This means that crops can grow year round in harsh climates or even in places with no fertile land. Crops grown nearer the consumer keeps the food fresher and reduces transport emissions.
The European market for vertical farming crops is expected to reach USD 520 million by 2027.
Molenaar is not surprised by these figures. He sees enormous potential for controlled environment farming solutions. “Right now vertical farming is used for a limited number of crops, but the technology is advancing quickly. I don’t agree with the general belief that wheat, rice and other carbohydrates cannot be grown indoors. We will get there sooner than later,” he says.
AVISOMO’s target group is established growers who already have access to markets. The company offers its own technical and biological expertise, and has a network of partners that also provide customer support.
“We are seeking to expand our customer base both within Norway and abroad. At the same time, we operate from an ethical position. I see a lack of fairness in global food production and distribution. Our technology can be part of the solution,” says Molenaar.
AVISOMO’s vision is to provide the most accessible vertical farming system in the world, allowing any farmer to use it to produce high-quality plants at a profit.
The company’s mission is to help farmers to earn greater profits. That is why the AVISOMO system is developed to make it easy for established farmers to propagate young seedlings, which is a critical process and holds great financial promise.
AVISOMO is a member of the NCE Heidner Biocluster, Norway’s national cluster for bioeconomy and sustainable food production,
Automated vertical farming system
Non-linear trolley system gives superior plant propagation
Increases crop yields and saves natural resources