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Thailand: Growers look indoors to plant strawberries, veggies, and cannabis

In the past year, pedestrians in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit Road have been drawn to a pinkish hue from a large window on the busy street. Many of them peer through the window and are surprised to see dozens of layers of strawberry plants stacked high behind the glass.

“People are attracted by the window, and they are more than welcome to come in and find out more about Varmers,” said Mr Geert Liezenga, founder and chief executive of the company that grows strawberries through vertical farming.

The 35-year-old serial entrepreneur moved to Thailand from the Netherlands about five years ago and planted the first strawberries in the vertical farm in January 2023. The farm adopts a direct-to-consumer model and delivers its strawberries to consumers, supermarkets, and restaurants.

The vertical farm, which is a little over 100 sq m in land area and stretches 11m vertically, is equivalent to a 4,800 sq m outdoor farm and can produce more than 800,000 strawberries annually. Despite being in production for less than a year, Varmers is already working on opening another similar facility and experimenting with other crops, says Mr Liezenga.

Over the years, indoor farms similar to the likes of Varmers have been taking root in Thailand – utilising Bangkok’s urban metropolitan area to grow crops, ranging from strawberries to cannabis.

Read more at straitstimes.com

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