VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 26, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With 7.2 billion people on the planet, and a decreasing amount of arable (farmable) land, traditional agriculture is straining to feed the world's population. Indoor crops for avocados, carrots, strawberries, lettuce, marijuana etc. have grown into a multi-billion dollar industry that is now embracing new technologies to gain production efficiencies.
In Holland, 50% of the value of all fruit and vegetables is grown in hydroponic greenhouses, minimising soil depletion, disease and unpredictable weather patterns.
T.M.T. Resources (TSX-V:TMT-H) has just appointed California food innovator, George Gummow as a liaison between new technologies and the downstream Indoor Grow Industry.
A key creator of the modern ready-cut fruit and vegetable industry, Mr. Gummow is the former CEO and co-owner of Royal Foods, the largest fresh wholesale produce distributor/processor in California.
Royal Foods merged into Freshpoint which was then acquired by SYSCO, the global leader in the foodservice market. Under Mr. Gummow's leadership, innovations included seed development, advanced growing techniques and refrigerated distribution.
"I'm committed to educating the indoor growing community about new technologies that TMT are involved with," stated Gummow in an exclusive interview with Financial Press, "I've been in this game for a long time, and I have wide network of contacts in the growing community."
Gummow claims that growers are looking to shrink the seed and growth cycle, and that doing so can mean the difference between profitability and suffering losses.
"My role with TMT (TSX-V:TMT-H) is to introduce new technologies to the indoor space. With the water supply problems that exist in the world, growers have extra incentives to employ new methods."
Vertical Growing is one relatively new technology that can turn skyscrapers into centres for crop production. The concept is simple. Instead of having a single layer of crops over a large land mass, stacks of crops grow vertically. Sometimes called 'urban farming' – it enables food production to move closer to the cities where the bulk of the food is consumed. The best candidate crops for vertical farming are high-value plants like strawberries and tomatoes.
"I've dealt with indoor growers for many years," stated Gummow, "and I can tell you they are very interested in new technologies that benefit themselves and the environment."
There are also new technologies that remove nutrient pollution from wastewater and convert it to lawn fertilizer. Chelated fertilizers increase micronutrient utilization efficiency. A change in molecular surface properties protects the micronutrient from oxidization and moisture. There are also new technologies that automatically stabilize ph levels.
"Some of these new technologies parallel the innovations that my family business Royal Foods was involved in years ago," stated Gummow, "when we introduced pre-cut products to the food industry it grew into something very big."
"A lot of the products I purchased in the past came from indoor growers, growing lettuces, vegetables and flowers from Canada to Mexico."
LED (Light Emitting Diode) is another indoor growing technology that is gaining traction. LED lights enable plants to grow indoors without the need for sunlight. LEDs consume 70% less energy than traditional lights with close to zero heat signature. The individual diodes are focused to specific wavelengths of the light spectrum (reds, oranges, ultraviolets) that promote plant photosynthesis.
Another advantage of LED lights is that they last about 100 times longer than traditional bulbs.
"LED lighting is one example of a new technology that has a chance of changing the way indoor growers operate," confirmed Gummow, "and because ultraviolet wave lengths of light cause growing cycles to be significantly shorter, LED lighting can reduce water consumption.
"The Indoor Grow Industry encompasses traditional greenhouses (vegetables and floriculture), hydroponics, and the rapidly expanding medical marijuana growing operations," stated TMT CEO Scott Ackerman, "Mr. Gummow's deep relationships within the Indoor Grow Industry will be invaluable as we investigate opportunities to acquire technologies that can offer substantial energy savings while improving plant yields and seed-to-harvest cycles."
TMT Resources is currently trading at .43 with a market cap of $23.3 million.
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