Sustainability is a crucial aspect of the world. To achieve better living conditions on the earth, sustainability is vital. Nowadays, many business segments adhere to the sustainability viewpoint for a wider vision. One of such sustainability-friendly companies we came across is Fishveg. An Agritech business focused towards sustainability.
According to the CEO of Fishveg, Karl Ahmed, “Sustainability is the core of Fishveg, growing more with less, without harming the planet and ecosystems. Every business can help, just by changing for ex. a supplier, product or how you get to work. A business practicing this will win big when all of COP26 recommendations are implemented.”
Knowing this, we were curious to learn more about the company and Karl’s journey. Our first question to Karl Ahmed was:
How did you begin your career journey?
“Owning a business within the sustainability segment which explored C02 Sequestration called Oxford Biochar Technologies, we started to think about non-soil growth methods. We successfully used a ‘Charcoal mat’ to grow microgreens, the obvious advantage of this was that the mat became completely recyclable – unlike other mat technologies. If you are in any industry, think about how you might apply this to other sustainable problems.” says Karl
Karl Ahmed is an adventurous and intrepid person interested in coming up with his own ideas. Karl said, “Having not worked for anyone for over 20 years I have no inhibitions
to try, test and even invest in quirky ideas. Life’s journey is about exploration whether that’s physical or mental, don’t stop exploring.”
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The Idea Behind Fishveg in Karl’s Words
All of this seems interesting. But how exactly did the idea of Fishveg come to mind?
“Traditional farming is making our soils poorer. The tilling and ploughing disturb the microbes and deplete the nutrients created over the years. Modern-day farming techniques such as Hydroponics or Aquaponics can grow veg and fruits without soil – making the product easier to pick and cleaner for packaging. They also use no pesticides, fertilizer or chemically enhanced additives like the traditional farming methods.
During the Pandemic, we started exploring new farming methods. We devised a unique growing technique called ‘Fishveg’ that simultaneously grows both veg and protein using only 10% of the water usually required and with a growth enhancement of 20%. This means we are saving vast amounts of natural resources and CO2 and producing more per sq acre’s traditional farming. That’s 10x more!!
Fishveg combines all 3 technologies (Hydro/Aero/Aquaponics) and uses each for its strengths so that we can get the economies of scale and cost advantages. We add AI to help feed, secure and monitor the life cycle of each crop and fish, which creates a ‘digital certificate’ for compliance.” said Karl.
The goal behind this idea was, “Fishveg will sell its produce to local restaurants, shops and communities and so we will develop systems that can be replicated under license to others. We don’t want to become a very large single producer as this works against all of the sustainable values.” says Karl.
Using Cutting-edge Technologies To Tackle Challenges
We asked Karl if technology is leading to changes in the agricultural sector since Fishveg is an Agritech company. Karl said, “Absolutely, as a trained engineer I wanted to apply everything I knew from my IOT, Telecoms and Green Energy career’s to this business. A.I. plays a major role in Fishveg, we can almost leave the machines to seed, grow and harvest the crops – but just as a pilot is a must in a plane, we still need human oversight.”
Technology and digital transformation are both leading to better changes in Fishveg. Karl says, “You can’t start a business today without being completely digital, important information should be available in a secure cloud to access 24/7 from a mobile device.
Running your business without being on-site is a prerequisite in any business I am involved in – I call doing this a ‘Real Time Enterprise’.”
Even during challenges, the team at Fishveg keeps moving forward. “Like all businesses, when challenges are seen you must work around these; a seasoned team will do well, so get a good team. Also look at other businesses and see how the problems may trigger an idea to solve your challenge,” says Karl Ahmed, Founder of Fishveg.
The Pathway To Innovation & Teamwork
Everyone has a different view on using innovative ideas for their business success. Karl says, “I am a great believer in not re-inventing the wheel. All of our ideas are better versions of technology that exists, we’ve taken it to the next stage – just like telephones!”
His team helps him make the best of the existing ideas and plans. We also asked him how he motivates his team to go the extra mile.
Karl replied, “The team is made up of motivated individuals and were chosen for their qualities, however now and then a CEO’s involvement is key to drive the team by setting new challenges and goals i.e. new crop to grow or making an existing process more efficient.”
We lastly asked Karl Ahmed:
Would you like to say anything else to our viewers?
After a career in Telecoms, Green Energy, Sustainability and now AgriTech, which is an entirely different world, I say don’t be afraid to explore and try various industries.