Western Growers launches $4m agtech fund

A trade association that represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce launched the $4m agtech fund alongside Silicon Valley Venture Partners.

Western Growers, a trade association that represents local and regional family farmers growing fresh produce in Arizona, California and Colorado, launched a $4 million agtech fund earlier this month.

The association and its member investors contributed to the fund which will be invested in agricultural innovation and technologies aimed at solving critical agriculture production challenges around the world.

The agtech fund will be managed by Silicon Valley Venture Partners (SVG), which entered into a strategic alliance with Western Growers to find, accelerate, advance and invest in agtech companies, Agri Investor learned.

Founded in 1926, Western Growers’ members and their workers provide half the nation’s fresh fruits, vegetables and tree nuts and nearly half of US fresh organic produce, according to its website.

“With population growth reaching nine billion in 2050, the only way to feed the world will be through technology,” Tom Nassif, president and chief executive of Western Growers, said in a statement. “We are also in an era of diminishing natural resources especially in California where water is a serious concern because of an ongoing four-year drought. In order to create a sustainable food chain, technologies and innovation must be developed and promoted.”

Western Growers is creating an Innovation Centre in the Salinas Valley to provide entrepreneurs and innovators with mentorship from Western Growers, the press release said.

“The intersection of technology and agriculture will pave the way to solve the exploding food production challenge, as well as deliver an incredible investment opportunity in the twenty-first century,” John Hartnett, chief executive of SVG, said in a statement.