News Letter 12-03-17

Highlights of some of our Speakers:


Exhibitors at ICCEA 2017:

Priva provides sustainable solutions for the more efficient control of energy and water within indoor environments, as a means to conserve scarce resources and reduce our impact on the planet.

Priva is a world leader in developing and supplying sustainable technologies for the control of indoor environments within horticulture and the built environment.Together with local partner organizations, we offer our customers across the world access to high-quality hardware, software and services.

At Priva, our business revolves around people. We are continually making new connections and building new relationships, in order to infuse the business with knowledge and vitality. It is our aim to create a climate of mutual respect and involvement, where growth and development go hand-in-hand.

Priva is continually investing in new products and concepts. We believe in stimulating innovation through shared knowledge, which is why we regularly collaborate with universities, research institutes and business partners. Priva recognizes the importance of coming together with like-minded organizations to develop new ideas. Now more than ever, this involves taking a global, multi-disciplinary approach, establishing new connections across sectors and around the world.


Why the Republic of Panama?      

The 2nd International Congress on Controlled Environment Agriculture (ICCEA 2017) will take place in the Republic of Panama, at the Hotel El Panama between May 17 through 19, 2017. The Panamanian Government is committed to teaching and training farmers in the latest technology advancements in greenhouse, vertical farms, precision and protected agriculture. We cordially invite you to visit the country to attend this year’s conference.

Panama is a privileged country for its strategic geographic location; the Panama Canal without question drives the economy of the country and the continent as a whole. With the expansion of the third set of locks, Panama is poised for increased economic growth. The Panamanian government has enacted laws to improve and implement high tech agriculture in the country with robust financial aid and updated regulations. Panama is the hub of the Americas with direct flights to all main capitals from the North American continent and Europe. It is also an incredibly vibrant and diverse tourist destination.


 Why Attend ICCEA 2017?

Recently I have been fielding a lot of questions from industry peers asking why Hort Americas continues to support, sponsor and even have a booth at the 2nd International Congress on Controlled Environment Agriculture (ICCEA). This event is scheduled for May 17-19, 2017, in Panama City, Panama. I thought the best way to respond was to write a two-part blog posting. In my first post I will focus on my “business” reasons and in the second post I will focus on my philosophical reasons.

Business opportunities in developing markets

As we all know, “the only constant is change.” This is no different in the world of commercial agriculture and production horticulture regardless of geographical locations. Panama and other Latin American countries have a very strong and proud history in agriculture and horticulture, which due to changing weather patterns are being forced to adapt. As one would expect, these changes will not come easy and will cause many farms, of all sizes, to suffer in the process. If these same farms want to continue operating and more importantly want to continue to be profitable, they will need to find a new way. My belief is that controlled environment agriculture (CEA) can and will be one of the tools that help these farms redefine themselves.

CEA is a technology-based approach to food production. The aim of CEA is to provide protection and maintain optimal growing conditions throughout crop development. Production takes place within an enclosed growing structure such as a greenhouse or building.

Panamanian government officials feel the same way. They have shown and continue to show a commitment to helping the country’s farmers.

The government’s support started in 2015 and 2016 when it committed and put to work approximately $100 million USD towards investments in innovative production techniques and strategies. In January 2017 the government announced a first-round monetary infusion of $243 million USD for fiscal year 2017 to be directed toward increasing food production using controlled environment/precision agriculture. These funds will be used to transition from current traditional agriculture and its challenges, including water, inputs, available arable land, to technology-based food production which includes CEA.

Panama funds CEA projects

Hort Americas has seen Panama’s government funding put to work. In the last 18 months the following projects have either been initiated or implemented.

* 10 Greenhouses of various sizes built with all the necessary equipment/technology.

* 2 Indoor farm food production facilities (one currently in development stage).

* 1 New university research-and-development facility.

* 1 Tissue culture laboratory.

* 1 CEA seedling production facility.

* 4 Private research-and-development facilities to test indoor food production (agricultural companies).

The following projects are currently in the planning stage.

* 1 Large-scale, world class research-and-development facility (a combined private/government/university initiative).

* 5 Greenhouses (more possible with new incentives recently announced).

* 1 Indoor food production facility.

Panama is one of several Latin American countries receiving this type of financial funding to upgrade the agriculture sector. Peru, Chile and other countries are following suit. In addition, there is a robust effort by CAF Development Bank of Latin American, and other multilateral organizations to increase their agriculture portfolio throughout Latin America, applying technology to produce food.

Hort Americas’ customers are active in the production of food and flowering crops using the technology that best fits their region. From our perspective, and depending on the crops, CEA can be designed and built to suit a variety of crops, production methods and management styles. This can be done as a greenhouse, vertical farm/plant factory or tissue culture facility.

ICCEA does two things to support CEA. First, it focuses on the education needed to support crop production regardless of the technology or geographic region. Second, it brings together people with varied backgrounds, including international investors, growers/farmers, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Due to ICCEA’s unique program and approach it not only attracts attendees from Latin America, it also attracts creative and innovative minds from around the world. In 2015, Hort Americas was amazed to meet and develop working relationships with many new businesses from the United States and Canada.

Unprecedented opportunities for everyone.

ICCEA creates opportunities for people and companies to build business partnerships. And that is what we look for–opportunity. When people have access to information and science that supports what they are interested in, good things happen. When people have the opportunity to listen to leaders from their industry, good things happen. When people have the opportunity to share great food and drink, good things happen. When people have the opportunity and time to professionally network, good things happen.

In 2015, Hort Americas had the pleasure of meeting and starting new business relationships with many new people and companies from the USA, Canada and the Caribbean (arguably more developed markets.) These attendees represented a wide array of thought, businesses, hydroponic crops and experience. It was awesome. Based on conversations we are currently having, we see even more opportunities to meet new and existing customers in 2017.

So, once again Hort Americas will be attending ICCEA in Panama City, Panama, on May 17-19, 2017. We will be there learning from leading researchers, networking and creating opportunities with government representatives, existing agricultural/horticultural businesses, entrepreneurs and manufacturers of CEA products.

Stay tuned for part 2 and hope to see you there.

Chris Higgins


  1. Environment
  2. Nutrient Solutions
  3. Growing Systems
  4. Light
  5. Water
  6. Energy

This year’s Key Note Speaker is Dr. Toyoki Kozai from Chiba University in Japan. Currently Dr. Kozai is leading Research and Development of Controlled Environment Agriculture with a primary focus on Vertical Farms (Plant Factories) for commercial food production. Dr.  Kozai is a Professor Emeritus and an Endowed Chair at the Center for Environment, Health and Filed Sciences at Chiba University.

Since 2010 Dr. Kozai has been working as the Chief-Director of the Japan Plant Factory (Vertical Farm) Association, a non-profit organization for the advancement of the industry.


ICCEA 2017 Highlights:

ICCEA 2017 addresses important issues facing food production.    

Global agriculture is facing a series of crisis in food production due in part to climate change, increased pests and pathogen problems. Add the high costs of production, lack of qualified field workers, the rising world population, among other problems and it’s a perfect storm of constant pressure of available food supplies. The Topics Program of ICCEA 2017 will provide solutions to some of these problems by the implementation and proper management of Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA), as used in greenhouse, vertical farms and ag tech.


Our Program

ICCEA 2017 is divided into 3 days. The main six components CEA will be discussed in conferences by industry expert speakers, as well as panelists from companies sharing real-world applications for the betterment of your business. In addition, we will have an Exhibition Hall with participation from major companies from around the world.

For a detailed Program Outline of the 3 days, please visit our website at:


Reserve your Exhibition Space!

If you are interested in reaching a fast growing market for Controlled Environment Agriculture products and services, the ICCEA 2017 is the place for you.

At the Exhibition Hall there are only 40 spaces available to promote your products and services to the North, South and Central American market – a market of nearly 1 billion people. You can view the floor plans of exhibition spaces below. Also, click on the photos and view our complete Commercial Kit.

We already have a number of exhibition spaces reserved and since space is limited we urge you to reserve your booth before they are all gone.

For more information on how to exhibit at this world-class conference, please visit us at

Booth spaces are filling up fast! There are still some spaces available at our exhibition hall. Contact us to reserve a space now before they are all gone!



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News Letter 12-03-17