Axis Technology wins £4m deal with Canadian mushroom grower

15 Mar 2021

Axis Technology’s mushroom harvesting and packing system. Image: Axis Technology

The Craigavon-based agritech business will finish installing its mushroom harvesting system for Canada’s Highline Mushrooms over the next few weeks.

Armagh agritech company Axis Technology has secured a deal worth £4m with Canadian mushroom grower Highline Mushrooms.

The Craigavon-based business has developed a mushroom harvesting system that aims to enhance harvesting and packing efficiency for producers, allowing them to operate at four times their normal output.

This system was developed with £120,000 in R&D funding from Invest NI, which also guided the company through UK patent application, EU design registration and skills development.

Northern Ireland’s economy minister, Diane Dodds, said 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,” Dodds said.

Alan Doake, director of Axis Technology, added that 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,” he said. “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.

“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 said that Axis will be expanding its team and recruiting seven new people in response to growing demand for its harvesting tech.

Invest NI’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.”

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021