By Abhishek Kapur Dec 04, 2014
Today’s agricultural sector consumes vast amounts of natural resources for production.
Food consumption is expected to increase worldwide by more than 50% by 2050, during which time per capita arable land will reduce by approximately 50%, according to a study by Rabobank and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) published in March 2014.
Furthermore, conditions in especially arid geographies have created a food gap and have heightened the need for imports.
The need for distant food sources can have a distressing impact on the environment, including extensive carbon dioxide emissions.
We believe business has the ability to address this social need with the right kind of technology, know-how, and investment.
One way to address this social need is to focus on greenhouse horticulture as a means to grow food closer to where it will be consumed, and also to accommodate a shift in consumer preferences for fresh food.
This can cut down on emissions in the transportation process, however, conventional greenhouses are energy and resource intensive. These businesses need an abundance of fossil fuels to power their greenhouses and regulate their growing temperatures, and they need access to fresh or irrigated water to feed their plants.
Sundrop Farms provides an innovative solution to increasing sustainability with “glasshouses”.
Sundrop has developed a proprietary system that enables it to operate glasshouses in locations that have little or no access to arable land, fresh water sources, grid electricity or natural gas. Instead of using traditional water and power sources, Sundrop grows high-quality produce year-round in these greenhouses that use the abundant amounts of renewable resources: sunlight and seawater.
In short, Sundrop uses a system of solar panels to desalinate seawater through a condensation process, which is used to irrigate crops. The steam produced during this process is used to power Sundrop’s greenhouses and regulate temperature. By controlling the humidity and introducing a saline airflow, Sundrop also avoids the need for pesticides. The method results in the production of fruits and vegetables that amass fewer food miles and have minimal impact on the environment.
Sundrop has the ability to develop and operate sustainable farms in regions where land is too arid for farming, fresh water is in short supply but seawater is abundant, and there is high potential for solar energy use.
We believe that KKR’s investment in Sundrop will provide the company with the capital it needs to achieve this opportunity, and the global network and know-how to help make that happen.
We are excited to partner with such an innovative company and help to introduce its technology to global markets that would otherwise be deemed unsuitable for agriculture. Sundrop plans to expand into areas of the Middle East and North America, to arid geographies where there is an abundance of sunshine, close proximity to the sea, and nearby end-consumer markets.
We look forward to introducing the company’s innovative technology to the world and hope that Sundrop’s disruptive farming methods are a part of the future of agriculture.
This information is subject to the Investment Disclaimers found at kkr-global.lousch.net/terms-use.