New Zealand’s Greenfern Industries (NZX:GFI) has released details on progress of its high-tech stage 2 medical cannabis cultivation facility in Normanby, Taranaki.
GFI managing director Dan Casey says the first of two cultivation rooms, housing around 300 cannabis plants, has been commissioned successfully.
“Despite some hurdles with the installation of the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system, we now have satisfactory control over the environment within the first room,” said Mr. Casey. “We eagerly anticipate monitoring the growth cycle of the medicinal cannabis plants.”
The company is aiming to get the second cultivation room up and running in the coming weeks. Having two rooms operational would allow for staggered harvests from each room, with each estimated to yield 4-5 harvests each year. This would work out to approximately 200-250 kg of cannabis flower from each room annually.
Greenfern has quality at front-of-mind with its indoor cultivation in a wholly enclosed and controlled environment. The company says it has previously surpassed stringent European Pharmacopoeia standards related to inhalation microbial counts in its test facility, without necessitating irradiation treatment of the flowers. The goal is to now replicate this at a commercial scale in the new, more sophisticated cultivation facility.
“This milestone validates Greenfern as a genuine cannabis producer in New Zealand,” commented Greenfern Chairman Marvin Yee.
Along with this news, GFI also provided an update on a rather unique aspect of the company’s operations. Growing cannabis indoors can be an energy and carbon intensive exercise. But Greenfern Industries has this covered – it owns a hydroelectric power station on the Waingongoro River in Taranaki; situated adjacent to Greenfern’s research and indoor growing operation and processing facility.
The company says it on the brink of finalising contractual terms with prospective partner Vortex Group for upgrading its hydro power station. Although the negotiation process has taken longer than expected, Greenfern anticipates a favourable result shortly. The planned upgrade, which seeks to triple power generation capacity and resolve existing reliability issues, is expected to commence in the upcoming months.
The company also noted progress on a project investigating commercial opportunities for value-added products derived from hemp seeds, particularly hemp seed hulls – the hard outer seed coating that is often discarded during processing. The Bioresource Processing Alliance (BPA) research is being carried out in collaboration with Hemp Connect and Callaghan Innovation.
“Although there’s still a year’s worth of research to be conducted, we’re finding very promising outcomes with potential commercial opportunities,” said Mr. Casey; without providing further detail at this point on what these outcomes were.