Seedo, the high-tech firm known for its fully-automated grow device for medical cannabis, has announced a plan to develop “the first fully automated, commercial-scale, pesticide-free containerized cannabis farm in Israel,” saying it will be partnering with Kibbutz Dan in northern Israel to do so.
The agro-tech firm from Israel last month began supplying its intelligent automated hydroponic system technology in home-grow units to customers in California.
Now, the company says its AI-powered, turnkey systems enable anyone -from average consumers to large-scale producers – to grow without prior experience or ample space.
“We are entering a new era of growing where demand for pesticide-free products will only continue to increase,” Seedo CEO Zohar Levy said in a statement this week.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Kibbutz Dan to provide a business model with governments that the world can look to. We’ve built our commercial-scale system to reflect our philosophy that technology can provide precise and reliable results without sacrificing yield,” Levy said.
The need for clean growing environments is growing, especially as legal cannabis markets around the world expand. A prevalence of pesticides, solvents, and bacteria present in the current supply chain pose a threat to consumer safety, especially for patients that are increasingly dependent on medical cannabis for treatment of a variety of illnesses.
Seedo says its revolutionary technology can control the purity of the crop to meet strict standards set by pharmaceutical and beverage companies looking to supply clean and consistent products to the market.
Its proven technology, originally developed for home-grow devices, is now being applied towards containers for commercial scale.
Each container features maximum daylight illumination, built-in carbon filters, automated air conditioning, and a smart post-harvest drying system that allows farmers to minimize cultivation costs and provide high-quality food with extended shelf life, according to a company statement.
Levy tells NoCamels that Seedo’s team of experts have more than “15 years of experience in container farming in the vegetables and herbs sector.”
By taking the guesswork out of the cultivation process, communities will be able to grow both native and non-native products with less labor, energy and water than before. The airtight, stackable containers will allow cultivators to optimize land-use and reduce the environmental footprint of their farming operations.
Within 36 months of operation, the Seedo project is estimated to produce a minimum of 14 tons of dry cannabis bud, generating an estimated revenue of $24 million dollars, according to a press statement.
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Of course, Seedo is not the only company to offer containerized cannabis farming. There are at least a dozen indoor container farming systems globally, offering growers climate-controlled temperature, precise airflow, water, light, and nutrients.
One such company is BH Synergy Group. The company has 15 container systems already up and running in Canada and the US, and is planning on bringing the system to Israel.
BH Synergy Group mixes automation with manual labor.
“I believe in both systems (manual and automated). However, the higher quality tending of plants is always going to be, in my opinion, from manual labor,” Adam Shuster, CEO BH Synergy Israel and USA, tells NoCamels.
“The automatic systems are for heavy lifting, the robot is lifting pots that weigh 25-50 pounds, so for that you definitely want a robotic system. When it comes to tending the plants and the bud and making sure that you get maximum quality THC and CBD levels consistently month after month, you need qualified manual labor.”
Shuster likens the proper gardening care needed for marijuana plants to bonsai trees or orchid flowers.
“People take care of bonsai trees and orchid plants very meticulously. In return, they get a meditative pleasure from this care and ensure a quality bonsai tree or orchid plant. It gives beauty and value. With the cannabis, you want the medical value of CBD and THC levels on the same specific strain. For that you need human touch,” says Shuster.
But Levy tells NoCamels that his firm’s automatic system “can ensure high-quality yields and no [ill] effect on the plants because [Seedo] can provide the plant with the ultimate conditions it needs to grow healthily without being affected by the environment or by workers.”
With Israel’s recent approval of medical cannabis exports, the world’s requests for blue-and-white cannabis bud are expected to rise.
Levy tells NoCamels that Israel’s tech prowess is accepted in the canna field as well.
“Seedo’s headquarters are based in Israel because we believe the Israeli employees are very innovative and creative, the Israeli mind is known to think out of the box. This availability gives us the advantage on the market,” says Levy. “The Seedo team has the availability to create new standardization in the agro-tech sector.”
Viva Sarah Press is a journalist and speaker. She writes and talks about the creativity and innovation taking place in Israel and beyond. www.vivaspress.com