The outbreak of the novel coronavirus is undoubtedly having an impact on Hong Kong’s economy. It has also created an enormous demand for face masks. Queues are everywhere for customers looking to purchase face protection, but shortages abound.

So what does hydroponics company, Farm66, a partner of ours at last year’s Food’s Future Summit, have to do with face masks?

According to Farm66’s CEO, Gordon Tam, they have surrendered 8,000 square feet of their facilities in Tai Po to Hong Kong Science and Technology Park to a third party, specifically for producing face masks during this crisis.

The sterilised space was initially prepared for indoor farming for the company’s upcoming expansion. It is estimated that the new facility can produce 100,000 face masks daily once in full operation in March. Tam said, “Farm66 has surrendered the space and put on hold our expansion plans to make way for the masks project only. I hope the scientists will soon find a treatment to knock down this deadly virus.”

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Who would have thought of such a resourceful connection between indoor farming and face masks? Unfortunately, we cannot eat face masks, and they are far from a sustainable product; they inevitably create quite a large amount of waste. Nevertheless, we applaud this creative approach to the increasing problem of face mask shortage in our current public health crisis and the community spirit on the part of Farm66.

We hope the masks will end up on the faces of those who are most in need.

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