Netafim has partnered with Vermillion Growers to build the first ever large-scale vegetable greenhouse in Manitoba, Canada. Gakon Netafim, Orbia Precision Agriculture’s commercial greenhouse project division, is a world-renowned leader in controlled environment agriculture (CEA). The facility celebrated its grand opening in July.
Based in Dauphin, Vermillion Growers will begin growing tomatoes year-round across 10 acres, with plans to expand their production area and grow additional crops. Canada currently imports more than 75% of its vegetables and 50% of its tomatoes. By reducing shipping time, customers can get fresh, higher-quality tomatoes at their local grocery stores, even in remote communities. By reducing transit time and the resulting spoilage, this exciting new development also cuts down on food waste.
The roof structure on the greenhouse will collect enough water to meet 50% of the entire facility’s irrigation needs. Additionally, the double-screen system minimizes light pollution and reduces the overall energy used by 50%.
“The double-screen technology is optimal for controlling the climate in the greenhouse and allows for greater energy savings and efficiency,” says Ricky Elz, Greenhouse Key Account Project Manager at Gakon Netafim. “The blackout screens provide shading to crops and are essential to crop growth in the greenhouse.”
“Our partnership with Vermillion Growers is an exciting part of our greenhouse business and I’m excited for what comes next. All of us at Orbia are proud to play a role in positively impacting the many communities of Manitoba,” says Claude Corcos, Vice President of Strategy & Business Development at Orbia’s Precision Agriculture business, Netafim USA.
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Since Vermillion Growers’ opening, the company has hired 30 new full-time employees and will eventually bring more than 200 jobs to the community. Vermillion has further partnered with Assiniboine Community College, a local college in Dauphin which will begin offering a Horticultural Production program this fall to provide education and training to those in the community who are interested in pursuing work in the field, including work at Vermillion Growers.
Notably, Vermillion Growers has provided job training and support to several workers who relocated from Ukraine to escape from conflict. Per Capita, Dauphin has one of the largest Ukrainian populations in Canada.
“The combination of world-class greenhouse technology and local expertise is why Vermillion invested in Gakon Netafim solutions,” says Maria Deschauer, Managing Director of Vermillion Growers. “We prioritize growing fresh produce, as well as healthy people and sustainable communities. All three are connected and we are thrilled for their support.”