VANCOUVER, British Columbia, July 2, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Strawberries are about as popular as oxygen. It's hard to locate anyone who doesn't like them.
According to 2013 Monterey County Crop Report released last week, strawberries top the list of most valuable crops at $869 million. The global market is estimated to be several billion dollars.
On June 24, 2014 Affinor Growers (AFI-CSE) (OTCQB:RSSFF) (Frankfurt:1AF) entered the multi-billion dollar strawberry market after closing an exclusive license to grow market-ready strawberries using automated, software-driven, vertical farming technology from Vertical Designs (VDL).
"Affinor grows plants," stated AFI Chairman Nick Brusatore, in an exclusive interview with Financial Press, "That's what we do, and we're going to be the best in the world at growing plants and solving problematic crops with zero water waste, pesticide-free."
Affinor's intention is to acquire land, build green houses, and be in production by November, 2014.
"The economics of our product are extremely favorable," stated Brusatore, "AFI differentiators are extreme water conservation, maximum production per square foot, mechanical pollination and wide facility automation. It's the right technology for our planet at the right time."
Mr. Brusatore has a 15 year track record in commercial crop innovation. Strawberries are in demand 12 months a year, but can only be grown a couple of months in northern climates.
"Vertical growing technology produces about 13 times more food per square foot, than a traditional greenhouse," stated Brusatore, "We use solar power where possible and we create zero water waste."
Affinor has a team of pharmacologists, scientists and plant geneticists working at an R&D facility in Port Coquitlam, BC.
"We have been Beta Testing mechanical pollination, production seed testing, fruit testing and shelf-life testing at the R&D facility," states Brusatore, "The machines are designed, built and running. It's all touch-screen software. The beautiful thing is that it is modular. When demand rises, we can scale up quickly, growing premium crops while recycling water and minimizing energy costs."
Rick Easthom, recently retired Manager of Retail Development for Choices Market confirms that it is "unheard of to produce a vine ripened strawberry above the 49th Parallel in the dead of winter."
"I sampled a 53 gram fully vine ripened strawberry produced by Affinor," stated Easthom in a recent interview with Financial Press, "It was better than any other strawberry I have ever tasted, including our local summer berries."
Affinor is in negotiations for bulk purchase orders for strawberries and the company is anxious to get the facility up and running. The company is also currently producing medical marijuana under an old license.
"The medical marijuana business is a natural fit for us because we already grow premium plants for a living and we can do it cheaper than anybody else," stated Brusatore, "but I can't get a $50 million purchase order for marijuana – and I can get for strawberries."
Current methods of strawberry production use large amounts of chemicals and pesticides and rely on fossil fuels for shipping and distribution. USDA data revealed 54 different pesticide residues among strawberry samples from traditional production methods.
Spoilage is also a major cost factor from strawberry growers, so Affinor Growers plans to build facilities near urban centers which can radically lower shipping costs and reduce spoilage, extending the shelf life of crops produced.
"I believe that at some point the world is going to look at us as a go-to company to solve challenging crop issues," stated Brusatore, "We have a very strong team of plant scientists who think out of the box."
Affinor will need $2-$3 million dollars to build the first facility. The company anticipates raising about $3 million from exercised warrants. Brusatore claims there is no need to fund production by doing a dilutive financing.
"In the next phase of our development we will accommodate institutional investors," stated Brusatore, "But right now we are going to expand on our own dime and that way - when we're producing, generating revenue and profits, Affinor will be worth much more."
"This is a huge deal for Affinor," states Sebastien Plouffe, President & CEO of Affinor, "as it will allow us to build our first strawberry facility immediately using VDL's proven technology."
Total Monterey 2013 strawberry revenues rose 11% from the previous year.
Affinor currently trades at .68 with a market cap of $41.45 million.
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CONTACT: Affinor Growers Inc. 410 Saint Nicolas, Suite 236 Montreal (QC) Canada H2Y 2P5 Phone: (514) 947-2272Source:Affinor Growers Inc.