A SCOTTISH vertical farm business has received a funding boost of £5.4 million to help take its indoor farming technology to new global heights.

Intelligent Growth Solutions first opened its doors in Scotland in August 2018, demonstrating cutting edge agri-technology, and exploring innovative ways of growing produce indoors in a controlled-environment system.

The location of IGS’ facility at Dundee's James Hutton Institute was chosen to enhance collaboration opportunities, and scientists and researchers at the Institute have since worked with the team at IGS to better understand how growing indoors can impact different varieties of crop growth, as well as driving increased productivity.

With the rising costs of land, a burgeoning population and ever increasing challenges presented by climate change, this new method of farming allows growers, retailers and governments to look at ways of producing food closer to urban populations, thus reducing air miles and providing solutions to issues facing businesses such as labour shortages and disease concerns.

In response to the need to meet global food insecurity whilst reducing the world’s carbon footprint, the indoor farming sector is now entering a period of rapid growth and expansion – globally, market growth in vertical farming is predicted at 24% per annum over the next three years.

Since IGS opened its vertical farming demonstration facility, it has since received significant interest from around the world with orders mounting for its patented technologies.

The new injection of £5.4m funding comes from US-based agri-foodtech investor S2G Ventures, and is intended to help IGS deploy indoor farming systems for clients in every major territory globally, creating jobs in software development, engineering, robotics and automation. IGS will also be building global marketing, sales and customer support teams on three continents.

“Indoor agriculture production is at a tipping point,” said S2G Ventures managing director, Sanjeev Krishnan. “Grocery and food service firms have never been more interested in adopting this in their future supply chain. Cost and quality of product will be critical to scale this adoption. IGS’s revolutionary technology has proven itself to reduce power consumption, improve ventilation and hence reduce the capital and human costs to deliver fresh and differentiated products to consumers,” he explained. “We are excited IGS will help enable this emerging movement."

IGS chief executive officer David Farquhar commented: “We have recruited a world-class international management team, to be announced soon, to drive our plan forward with support from a board of senior international business people bringing industry expertise and best practice governance to the table.

“This industry is just at the starting line and we look forward to working with our customers, partners and colleagues at the James Hutton Institute to enable the highest quality produce to be grown at economically viable prices and help feed the burgeoning global population,” he concluded.