Alquimi senior partner to speak on agriculture production at Caribbean Investment Forum

Alquimi senior partner to speak on agriculture production at Caribbean Investment Forum

Alquimi supports implementation and expansion of greenhouse farm projects under its two brands: Island Growers Caribbean (IGC) and Berrycove Organic Farms.

 

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad--The Caribbean Investment Forum, to be held at the Hyatt Regency in Trinidad and Tobago, November 8-11, is an opportunity for investors to explore the extraordinary opportunities in the Caribbean region. One speaker at the Forum, Ralph Birkhoff, Senior Partner and Principal, Alquimi Renewables, LLC, knows first-hand that this region is ripe for investment in sustainable development, particularly climate-resilient protected agriculture and integrated renewable energy systems, based on his experiences, according to a press release from Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export).
“After having lived in the region for over a decade, and being from Canada,” Birkhoff said, “I realised that many of these fresh produce categories have to be imported as there is not the agricultural infrastructure here to service the local demand with the types of fresh, healthy, delicious produce we’re accustomed to in more developed markets.”
Collaborating with local, regional and international investment interests, Alquimi supports the successful implementation and expansion of greenhouse farm projects under its two brands: Island Growers Caribbean (IGC) and BerryCove Organic Farms, Trinidad and Tobago’s first commercially scaled climate-smart hydroponic greenhouse farm. Alquimi and its investor partners are adding to food security in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados, with plans to expand in 2023 to Guyana, St. Lucia, Jamaica and The Bahamas, and many other islands across the region in the coming years, according to the release.
“Because of the constant risk of annual tropical storms that would destroy a standard greenhouse,” Birkhoff said, “we needed to develop an innovative system that would meet the specific threats of the region and provide investors with risk mitigation to ensure that our investments wouldn’t be affected once operational. Because of the many inherent climate risks in our region, current farms and greenhouse systems don’t qualify for insurance to protect their assets. We changed that dynamic and were the first greenhouse farms to be commercially insured in the region.”
Alquimi, like many entrepreneurial companies building solutions for the Caribbean, shared that indeed the toughest part of the development process of this new greenhouse technology, was getting investors to understand that this is uncharted territory in this region, and that every step and approval required is a unique one. “For instance, we were the first applicant ever to receive permission to import live berry plant stock from Europe into Trinidad,” stated Birkhoff.
“Being transparent with investors is important,” he said. “Everything we’re doing is quite new to the region. We’re introducing new technologies and engineering solutions at every turn because of the region’s unique weather and climate conditions. While these same technologies can be expanded to areas that are less prone to threatening tropical storms, they still need to be engineered for the most extreme local environments. We never know when a Category 5 storm is going to take aim at our facilities – only that someday they will.”
Alquimi has also recently established Advanced Hydroponic Systems in Trinidad, which designs, engineers and fabricates customised commercial hydroponic systems for sale and export, the release states. “We see a tremendous opportunity for growth in this unique manufacturing sector to support the expanding regional and international [controlled environment agriculture – Ed.] CEA sector,” Birkhoff said.
According to the release, Birkhoff will join dozens of other speakers and hundreds of attendees at the Caribbean Investment Forum, November 8-11. The forum will provide potential investors with information and direct access to leaders throughout the region, who are creating the innovative solutions the region needs and that savvy investors can benefit from financially.
“The revenue expectations from expanded agricultural production for this region are impressive,” Birkhoff said. “Providing this region with additional food security and helping to develop renewable energy solutions the region needs for the next century, are not only key to the region’s development, but are outstanding opportunities for investors to realise a solid return while making a lasting difference for the people.”
Entrepreneurs and investors interested in attending the Caribbean Investment Forum can learn more and register at
http://www.caribbeaninvestmentforum.com, the release concludes.

The Daily Herald

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