The world's population growth is straining the earth's water resources and that creates a huge opportunity for sustainable growers in the very near future, said Michael DeGiglio, portfolio manager of the Village Farms International (VFFIF) .
"We will be building greenhouses, expanding our distribution model where we market for our partners who grow and we will also look at alternative crops," said DeGiligio, adding that marijuana might be one of those alternative crops once it is fully legalized in the United States.
Village Farms is one of the largest producers and distributors of premium-quality produce in North America. The company's fruits and vegetables are all grown in environmentally friendly, soil-less, glass greenhouses. The Village Farms brand of fruits and vegetables is marketed and distributed primarily to local retail grocers and dedicated fresh food distributors throughout the United States and Canada, including Wal-Mart (WMT) - Get Report , Whole Foods (WFM) , Target (TGT) - Get Report and Costco (COST) - Get Report .
Village Farms sports a market cap of just under $25 million. Net sales increased at Village Farms by 5%, or $5 million, to $106.8 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2015. The company lost a penny a share over the period. The company has not yet released its fourth quarter or full year 2015 results.
Village Farms is guided by sustainability principles that enable it to grow food 365 days a year, according to DeGiglio. He said natural resource efficiencies such as water conservation and renewable energy optimizing cogeneration are all part of the company's clean technology model of farming.
"When we grow a tomato or a cucumber, we are growing it with less than 20% of the amount of water of a field grower," said DeGiglio. "We don't use soil so therefore we don't take any nutrients out of the soil and we don't leachate any nutrients or nitrates in the soil. And we don't use herbicides or chemicals in our processes."
"Knock on wood, our industry has never really had an issue because we don't introduce pathogens in our processes that may do it," said DeGiglio. "I think small growers don't always have the resources to have a solid food safety program."