E Agri leads ef­fort to fu­ture-proof agri­cul­ture

Australian Farmers & Dealers Journal - - What’s New -

AN assess­ment of the sus­tain­abil­ity of tra­di­tional farm­ing pro­cesses and method­olo­gies has prompted new agribusi­ness com­pany, E Agri, to de­velop a new tech­nol­ogy and en­vi­ron­men­tally-fo­cused plat­form aimed at mak­ing food and hor­ti­cul­ture pro­duc­tion more ac­ces­si­ble, at­trac­tive and ef­fi­cient for ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties. Ac­cord­ing to E Agri’s en­vi­ron­men­tal spokesper­son, Rob Gell AM “our ob­jec­tive is to en­able peo­ple to grow fresh, or­ganic food in city en­vi­ron­ments and en­cour­age bet­ter util­i­sa­tion of un­con­ven­tional but po­ten­tially valu­able pro­duc­tion ar­eas such as fac­tory roof tops for farm­ing”. “We are also fo­cused on pro­vid­ing the safest, high­est-qual­ity food so­lu­tions to min­imise en­vi­ron­men­tal and car­bon cost im­pacts through ‘food miles’ while al­low­ing con­sumers to ac­cess fresh food from their lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment, year round, re­gard­less of cli­mate and free of pol­lu­tants.” The di­verse team be­hind E Agri Co. is made up of in­dus­try lead­ers from across agri­cul­ture, ed­u­ca­tion, tech­nol­ogy, and sus­tain­abil­ity. Ac­cord­ing to Gell, who has more than 20 years as an en­vi­ron­men­tal con­sul­tant, the farm­ing so­lu­tion of­fered by E Agri Co is a pos­i­tive step in the right di­rec­tion. “With nat­u­ral re­sources be­com­ing scarce, ef­forts to pro­duce more ef­fi­ciently and prof­itably are in high-de­mand,” Gell said. “Through com­mer­cially proven, hy­dro­ponic and sus­tain­able hor­ti­cul­ture sys­tems, we are now in a po­si­tion to de­liver new turn-key so­lu­tions to gen­er­ate sig­nif­i­cantly lower cost, higher yield­ing crop per square me­tre of land than can be achieved with ei­ther tra­di­tional hor­ti­cul­ture or con­ven­tional hy­dro­ponic ap­proaches. “We be­lieve the types of tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments be­ing de­vel­oped by E Agri will help ce­ment Aus­tralia’s po­si­tion as a provider and in­no­va­tor of sus­tain­ably pro­duced, high­qual­ity food glob­ally,” he said. Un­like com­peti­tors, promis­ing to of­fer high-tech, new age so­lu­tions and in­fra­struc­ture, E Agri can point to proven suc­cess through its col­lab­o­ra­tion with part­ner Aus­tralian Fresh Leaf Herbs (AFLH), one of Aus­tralian’s lead­ing pro­ducer and distrib­u­tors of sus­tain­able fresh herbs. Ac­cord­ing to AFLH man­ag­ing di­rec­tor and Aus­tralian Young Farmer of the Year (2011) Jan Vy­dra, E Agri’s tech­nol­ogy has helped the com­pany grow the busi­ness in the past four years. Recog­nised as one of Aus­tralia’s fastest start-ups, AFLH went from pro­duc­ing 2000 units to more than 100,000 units a week us­ing the hy­dro­ponic, cloud-based sys­tem. “Util­is­ing new tech­nol­ogy in­clud­ing cloud com­put­ing has let us max­imise re­sources and con­serve wa­ter and en­ergy through smart phone and tablet de­vices,” Vy­dra said. “The soft­ware as­sists with ev­ery­thing from where we plant and mon­i­tor­ing wa­ter lev­els through to doc­u­ment­ing the qual­ity of the pro­duce from the mo­ment it leaves the farm gate to the time it lands at the re­tailer dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre. “Through E Agri we have been able to gen­er­ate higher yields from avail­able land, min­imise en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact and run a prof­itable busi­ness from start up in 2008,” he said.

E Agri is al­low­ing con­sumers to ac­cess fresh food from their lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment, year round, re­gard­less of cli­mate and free of pol­lu­tants.

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