After realising many greenhouses for the food and floral growers, Israeli company Azrom has been involved in various cannabis greenhouses. In the south of Israel, a 1-hectare greenhouse is currently being constructed that will supply the Israeli market with medical cannabis and offers the operators opportunities to export.
It has been sixty years this year since Azrom started its operations in greenhouse building, making it one of the oldest operators from Israel. "Our goal is creating a farm that helps the grower in the long term. The opposite of one size fits all", Fany Baluka with Azrom laughs. "It's a matter of learning all about the data from a project: the crop, the weather, the goals of the company. Starting from this information a project will start."
These days, the cannabis market is keeping the Azrom team fairly busy. Currently a 1-hectare greenhouse is being realised in the south of Israel. The client is currently building greenhouses for growing medical cannabis in Israel as well as European countries. However, building greenhouses might not be the right way to say it. "We're applying medical standards to growing", they say, also referring to the new standards the Israeli government puts upon growers and eyeing the strict GMP regulations the EU demands for growers willing to export their medical cannabis to the EU.
With these goals in mind the facility is equipped with extensive techniques: high-tech climate control, dehumidification, ventilation and precise irrigation facilities including a reversed osmosis system, and a screening installation including black-out screens.
The current building process gives a hint of what the control room will look like: equipped in concrete and offering space to the heating, irrigation and fertiliser systems. Additional space is designated for the obliged vault and the processing room. This warehouse makes it possible to follow the strict protocols, including the 30-day processing time.
"Then of course there's the F-Clean cover (eventually was not implemented on this project although was originally design with such cover). The greenhouse cover looks like a standard plastic cover, but acts like a glass cover; it maintains its light transmission for more than 20 years. Azrom is a fervent user of the material and their Eco Clima greenhouse structure was designed especially for this. "It is applicable in many climates and is a very durable solution", Fany explains. "Being a more affordable and more durable alternative to glass, F-Clean provides a higher light transmission, while it provides more energy saving capacities than a standard poly cover. Specifically in cannabis it even results in higher levels of the desired cannabinoids."
The 10,000 m2 cultivation space is divided into three parts. Ten percent is used for the propagation and cloning of the mother plants. Another 30 percent will be used for the young plants, whereas the final 60 percent of the acreage will be used for the final growing process. Climate and irrigation systems are divided as well to make separate steering of the partitions possible. "The full infrastructure is already in the ground", Fany tells us. "With Azrom we always equip the grower with the tools needed for their cultivation - and compared to the vegetable greenhouses in the area it might seem like a crazy high-tech project, but these techniques are what the grower needs to fulfil the market demand." She adds how in the cannabis market it's not just the grower who decides on what techniques to use. "It's like operating the other way around. The medical industry brings its demand to the grower, and working together with the grower and our partners, we bring the tools to fulfil this demand."
In close collaboration with both the client as well as their building partner the project is to be finished in the next months, after which expansion of another hectare can start.