Axis Technology, a company based in Craigavon, Co Armagh, has won a deal worth £4m with Canadian mushroom grower Highline Mushrooms. The Northern Irish agritech’s mushroom-harvesting system enhances harvesting and packing efficiency for farmers, allowing them to operate at four times their normal output.
Axis developed its system with funding from Invest Northern Ireland, which guided it through UK patent application, EU design registration and skills development. The agency invested £120,000 towards its R&D.
Northern Ireland’s economy minister, Diane Dodds, said that Axis Technology will finish installing its system for Highline Mushrooms over the next few weeks. It will deliver 32 harvesting conveyors and 17 mushroom-processing units to Canada.
“Successes such as these show that there is still a clear appetite for Northern Ireland products and services in international markets, even during challenging times,” she said.
Alan Doake, director of Axis Technology, said: “Mushroom growers face a constant challenge of recruiting and retaining staff to harvest their crops. Traditional mushroom harvesting by hand is not only time consuming, but can lead to a considerable amount of wastage.
“Our mushroom-harvesting system combats these challenges and enables farmers to increase the volumes of mushrooms harvested by more than 10pc from reducing wastage alone. Utilising our system considerably increases the farm’s profitability through increased efficiency, while also typically halving harvesting costs.
“Last year, we hit a bump in the road when Covid travel restrictions were implemented but thankfully over the last few months we have been able to travel to Canada to complete the initial installation works.”
Doake added that Axis will be expanding its team and recruiting seven new people in response to growing demand for its harvesting tech.
Invest Northern Ireland’s CEO, Kevin Holland, commented: “Canada is our third-largest export market and this new contract win demonstrates the opportunities available overseas for ambitious Northern Ireland companies.
“The £4m deal is a defining moment for Axis Technology and shows the importance of innovation in helping a company to expand sales into global markets. With its continued focus on innovation, I am sure Axis Technology is well positioned to capitalise on future growth in Canada and further afield.”
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