Knowledge transfer: Applying a long history in agriculture to cannabis production

By Rick Brar, CEO of Zenabis

Since the Industrial Revolution, ‘step changes’ in innovation have led to big advancements across all sectors – and agriculture is no exception. As innovation continues to drive plant propagation and farming technologies, new techniques in agriculture are being applied to the cannabis production sector to meet the demand of emerging markets across the globe – including right here in Canada.

To help answer the question of what parallels exist between traditional agriculture and cannabis, let’s take a look at the ‘DNA’ of Zenabis – our new company that’s being formed by the strategic amalgamation of Sun Pharm and Bevo Agro.

Sun Pharm brings extensive experience from the production of medical and recreational cannabis, while Bevo Agro is one of North America’s largest food growers. Those founding companies represent an ideal recipe for producing consistent, high-quality cannabis. With a 30-year history of technologically-advanced plant propagation in greenhouse operations, Bevo Agro gives us new production capacity at a competitively low cost. Following completion of a reverse takeover transaction and the expansion of Bevo’s greenhouse facility in British Columbia, Zenabis will have over 3 million square feet of available growing space in B.C., New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. By combining forces, we’re blazing a trail in both domestic and worldwide distribution. In fact, I’m proud to say that we’re on our way to becoming one of the world’s largest cannabis producers.

So, how does our collective food-growing experience extend to the brave new world of recreational cannabis?

Growing cannabis in a greenhouse does present a unique set of challenges – specifically in the areas of humidity control and temperature fluctuation during the growing cycle. That’s why we’ve assembled a ‘dream team’ that’s uniquely equipped to ensure we raise the kind of healthy, top-quality plants our customers expect. Our combined expertise comes from having the most experienced growing team in Canada, North America, and possibly anywhere in the world. Not only do we know the cannabis space, we’ve grown hundreds of varieties of sophisticated plant materials, such as herbs and nutraceutical products. Whether we’re finding scientific solutions to plant health challenges, or getting a foothold in emerging markets, we’re well-positioned to capitalize on this new sector.


Building on our agricultural track record, we’re using innovative new technologies in combination with tried-and-tested traditional techniques in propagation and growing – with the aim of being the most cost-competitive Licensed Producer from a production standpoint. By producing high-quality plants on a large-scale, that meet the strictest standards set by Health Canada, and by Zenabis internally, we’re dedicated to meeting demand that’s emerging at an impressive pace.

Our team shares a long history in agriculture. Along the way, we’ve learned that strong parallels exist between growing food or floral crops, and cannabis. Long-established principles continue to apply. For instance, the best crops are the ones that have the best starts. Propagation is the key to any successful farming endeavour, including cannabis production. With Bevo Agro, we’ve identified North America’s most advanced plant propagator – and given ourselves the greatest chance of success in this field.


Our team is proving to be adept at applying every element of its combined experience to the cultivation of cannabis. What surprises me is simply the accelerated pace of global demand. I’m pleased to say that we’re on pace to meet that demand, both internationally and here at home.


We’re excited to be on the ground floor of this emerging sector.