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Hi tech vertical farm could produce a third of leafy greens and create 30 jobs

Wayne Furbert, the Minister for the Cabinet Office (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A vertical farm could produce almost one third of Bermuda’s demand for leafy greens – the equivalent of 200 acres of farmland, it was revealed today.

Wayne Furbert, the Cabinet Office minister, said the state-of-the-art farm could also reduce the cost of food production and create up to 30 jobs.

Mr Furbert added the Government was close to finalising plans for the development and finance for the project.

He said: “Vertical farming will utilise the latest technology to grow leafy greens in a controlled environment.”

“The aim of this venture is to reduce the cost of food to the general public, reduce the reliance on imported leafy greens, and boost employment in Bermuda.”

Vertical farming involves the production of crops in a controlled environment, usually indoors.

It also uses techniques such as hydroponics instead of soil and the crops grow in stacked layers.

Mr Furbert said the hi-tech farm would be “environmentally sound”, use 95 per cent less water than conventional production and no pesticides.

He added: “A key component of this project, and in line with the Government’s vision to create a nation of owners, will be to allow Bermudians to invest in this entity so that they can enjoy the benefits of ownership of local food production.”

According to environmental studies, there are about 760 acres of land available for farming in Bermuda, although only 365 were beign actively worked.

The plans will be presented to the Cabinet Committee for Economic Development next week.

Mr Furbert also fleshed out plans for a proposed fish processing centre, a drive to attract technology companies to the island, and a bid to expand the intellectual property industry.

He said: “The shoreside fisheries complex will be the operational centre of a new, long-anticipated enterprise that will transform and reposition Bermuda’s commercial fisheries sector.

“It will be a purpose-built facility where fish will be cleaned and processed for sale to the Bermuda market.

“This facility is just the start of our ambitions and while targeted towards local consumption, it has the potential to grow into international exports.”

Mr Furbert said that the aim with technology companies was to “create a hub wherein technology companies can set up and conduct their business right here in Bermuda in a business-friendly environment”.

He added: “We have recently been engaged in very fruitful discussions with global tech companies about relocating to Bermuda.”

Mr Furbert said that Government was examining how to overhaul legislation “to remove bureaucracy and red tape”.

He highlighted that changes had already meant the arrival of 58 technology workers from Pakistan.

Mr Furbert said: “They are part of a very large and successful technology company and it is our hope that this will be the genesis of their setting up business long-term in Bermuda and training and hiring Bermudians.”

He added further amendments to legislation would make Bermuda an attractive location for international companies that wanted to register trademarks and copyrights.

Mr Furbert said: “We have adopted a phased approach to overhauling our intellectual property legislation and by the Spring of 2021 we shall have achieved significant enhancements in this realm.

“These are just a few of the major initiatives the Cabinet Ministry is forging ahead with in the next year or so, and I am very optimistic that we shall succeed in generating positive economic activity as a result.”

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Published November 13, 2020 at 9:24 am (Updated November 13, 2020 at 9:23 am)

Hi tech vertical farm could produce a third of leafy greens and create 30 jobs

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