AgriFORCE: Rising up to Meet Agriculture’s Biggest Challenges
The modern agriculture industry faces a multitude of complex, existential challenges. From the reliance on factory farming, to legacy food production’s harmful contributions to climate change, the overuse of herbicides and pesticides, and problems caused by pollution and soil erosion, the current system of growing food is virtually unsustainable. These problems will likely be exacerbated by a global population that’s set to reach nine billion people by 2050. With more and more mouths to feed, and the strain on global food supply chains nearly at a breaking point, farming and agriculture are at a crossroads.
But there may just be some light at the end of the tunnel. Companies in the Agriculture Technology (AgTech) space, like Farmers Edge (FDGE: TSX), and AppHarvest (APPH: NASDAQ) are using cutting-edge technology and AI to find creative solutions to the monumental challenges facing the industry. At the forefront of this movement is Vancouver-based AgriFORCE (AGRI: NASDAQ), an intellectual property-based AgTech company looking to become an industry disruptor by revolutionizing every step of the food production process, from seed to table. It’s an audacious goal, but one that AgriFORCE CEO Ingo Mueller believes is not only achievable, but necessary. He explains “As a company, we’re trying to deliver more nutritious, better tasting outcomes to consumers, and at the same time, do it in a more sustainable way that reduces the impact on the planet. It's all about controlling the entire process and figuring out how we do each of those elements better and smarter, more sustainably, and in an integrated method.”
AgriFORCE is split into two key divisions. AgriFORCE Solutions, which encompasses operational solutions, cutting edge agricultural facilities, R&D, and AgTech consulting services; and AgriFORCE Brands, which focuses on the acquisition and commercialization of plant-based ingredients and products.
On the Solutions side of the business, the company’s foundational intellectual property (IP) is the AgriFORCE GrowHouse, a state-of-the-art indoor farming facility, which the company believes is one of the world’s most technologically advanced indoor agriculture systems. Designed to operate in virtually any climate, the AgriFORCE GrowHouse uses the Internet of things, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other smart technology to optimize crop yields without the use of herbicides or pesticides. Each structure features an air management system that changes based on external weather conditions, organic foam-based clouds that act as insulation, and proprietary materials that help capture close to 100% of the full light spectrum of the sun, letting crops grow to their fullest nutritional and genetic potential.
Ingo Mueller feels that the AgriFORCE GrowHouse could be a game-changer: “We’ve developed a new take on a form of controlled environment agriculture, where we try to create a more sustainable solution using a different design, different materials, AI, and other smart technologies to create a more efficient, better solution, and to ultimately bring consumers better tasting food at a lower cost based on the yields that we’re able to achieve.” The company recently announced its first facility contract in Barbados.
Also on the Solutions side, AgriFORCE is currently working through the due diligence process of the acquisition of a leading European AgTech consulting firm with a global reach and annual revenues of approximately USD $26 million. Mueller is a firm believer that Europe is several years ahead of North America when it comes to finding solutions to some of agriculture’s biggest problems, as the company scours the globe for innovative companies as part of its aggressive mergers and acquisitions strategy. Mueller explains, “There are many interesting companies globally, in particular in Europe, that have generational know-how, and in some instances, IP that's very relevant to a certain component of a solution. This acquisition is an alliance of our complementary expertise and shared values.” The deal not only bolsters AgriFORCE’s IP, but also gives the company a more global presence.
AgriFORCE Brands – the other division of the AgriFORCE model – is making moves to shore up their ingredient and product IP. In September 2021, the company announced it was entering into an agreement to acquire key IP from the Manna Nutritional Group, a Boise, Idaho-based firm specializing in ways to convert and process grains, pulses, and root vegetables into high-fibre, high-protein, low carbohydrate flours. President of AgriFORCE Brands Mauro Pennella explains the upside of the acquisition, “The deal for Manna IP allows us to actually provide potential products like baked goods, breads, and cookies for example, that are much higher in terms of the nutritional value, i.e., fibers and proteins, and substantially lowers the impact of carbohydrates and starches. Imagine the bun on your hamburger – what if it could be the best nutritional element that you would have on your burger? That’s game changing.”
The two divisions of AgriFORCE’s business model have the same end goals – to help the company become a global leader in delivering plant-based foods and products, and to use their technology to better help tackle the problems facing the agriculture industry.
While the company is still in its early stages, CEO Mueller is confident and looking forward to the future. “What really excites me is the fact that we have the ability to make material change to where humanity goes in the future, to really address what are fundamental challenges to mankind.”
The problems facing agriculture are huge, but the AgTech movement, led by innovative companies like AgriFORCE, are ready to face them head on. The future of the planet may be at stake.
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