Cargill Partners with Vertical Farming Leader AeroFarms in First-of-Its-Kind Research Focused on Cocoa Production
Multi-year collaboration to use fully controlled environments to unlock plant biology, understand climate impacts and explore novel production practices
As part of ongoing efforts to build a more resilient and sustainable cocoa sector, Cargill has entered a multi-year research agreement with vertical farming pioneer and leader AeroFarms aimed at improving cocoa bean yields and developing more climate-resilient farming practices.
"Environmental challenges and growing demand for cocoa products are placing increased pressure on the global cocoa supply chain," said Niels Boetje, managing director Cargill Cocoa Europe. "Through partnerships with research institutes, universities and innovative companies like AeroFarms, we are collaborating across sectors in bold experiments to bring greater productivity and resiliency to traditional cocoa farming operations. We look forward to sharing our findings with the farmer cooperatives in our cocoa supply chain to help ensure a thriving cocoa sector for generations to come."
This latest research collaboration brings together AeroFarms' expertise in controlled environment agriculture, with Cargill's extensive knowledge of cocoa agronomy and production practices. Together, the two organizations will experiment with different indoor growing technologies including aeroponics and hydroponics, light, carbon dioxide, irrigation, nutrition, plant space and pruning to identify the optimal conditions for cocoa tree growth.
These findings will yield new insights, targeting factors such as faster tree growth and greater yields, accelerated development of varieties with enhanced pest and disease resistance, and unlocking the cocoa bean's full flavor and color potential. These outcomes will help secure the future supply of cocoa beans in the face of climate change.
"AeroFarms shares a similar vision as Cargill to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way," said David Rosenberg, Co-Founder & CEO of AeroFarms. "We have grown over 550 different crops, and we are excited to be working on another project with them, this time focused on cocoa. At AeroFarms we think of our proprietary technology as a platform to optimize plant biology, genetics, mechanical systems, operational systems, environmental systems and digital controls, data capture and analytics. Genetics and speed breeding is one of the verticals where we focus. Applying our platform to optimize cocoa growing is one way that AeroFarms can have a broader positive impact on the world."
Initial exploratory work has already begun at AeroFarms global headquarters in Newark, New Jersey, and will soon expand to the company's state-of-the-art AeroFarms AgX Research & Development indoor vertical farm in Abu Dhabi, UAE, which is slated to open in early 2022.
Cargill's 155,000 employees across 70 countries work relentlessly to achieve our purpose of nourishing the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Every day, we connect farmers with markets, customers with ingredients, and people and animals with the food they need to thrive.
We combine 155 years of experience with new technologies and insights to serve as a trusted partner for food, agriculture, financial and industrial customers in more than 125 countries. Side-by-side, we are building a stronger, sustainable future for agriculture. For more information, visit Cargill.com and our News Center.
About Cargill's global cocoa and chocolate business
Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate provides high quality cocoa and chocolate more sustainably throughout the world and brings our customers peace of mind, integrity and excitement. With balanced efforts on security of supply, sustainability projects and sensory expertise, we create a wide range of outstanding standardized and custom-made products and services. In addition, we provide our customers with extensive market knowledge. We grow a robust, fair and transparent supply chain, from bean to bar, eager to continuously shape industry standards. To ensure a more sustainable supply of quality cocoa beans, Cargill established our own sourcing and trading operations at origin in Brazil, Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia. Our Cargill Cocoa Promise underlines our commitment to enable farmers and their communities achieve better incomes and living standards. Our team of 4,100 passionate cocoa and chocolate experts work across 57 locations and are part of Cargill's 155,000 colleagues around the world. For more information, visit cargillcocoachocolate.com.
Since 2004, AeroFarms has been leading the way for indoor vertical farming and championing transformational innovation for agriculture. On a mission to grow the best plants possible for the betterment of humanity, AeroFarms is a Certified B Corporation with global headquarters in Newark, New Jersey. Named one of the World's Most Innovative Companies by Fast Company two years in a row and one of TIME's Best Inventions in Food, AeroFarms patented, award-winning indoor vertical farming technology provides the perfect conditions for healthy plants to thrive, taking agriculture to a new level of precision, food safety, and productivity while using up to 95% less water and no pesticides ever versus traditional field farming. AeroFarms enables local production to safely grow all year round, using vertical farming for elevated flavor. In addition, through its proprietary growing technology platform, AeroFarms has grown over 550 varieties and has developed multi-year strategic partnerships ranging from government to major Fortune 500 companies to help uniquely solve agriculture supply chain needs. For additional information, visit: https://aerofarms.com/.
On March 26, 2021, AeroFarms announced a definitive business combination agreement with Spring Valley Acquisition Corp. (Nasdaq: SV). Upon the closing of the business combination, AeroFarms will become publicly traded on Nasdaq under the new ticker symbol "ARFM". Additional information about the transaction can be viewed here: https://aerofarms.com/investors/