Is vertical farming beneficial? Can it be preferred over other types of farming? Generally speaking, vertical farming has found enthusiasts both in small and big farming organizations. This could largely be as a result of consistent feedback from researchers, showing that vertical farming will indeed be the most suitable approach to feed ever-growing global populations both profitably and sustainably.
Tech companies have gone the extra mile of developing indoor gardening structures that enable vertical farming, such as the recently released LG Indoor Gardening booth which is aimed at minimizing our dependence on nature to grow food crops.
There is no doubt that the population is growing at a fast rate, and that the resources needed to sustain it are running out as a result of climate change. The natural world is definitely one that is full of uncertainties, hence we cannot put all our hope in it. If anything, in the present decade, that we are, there will be climatic changes that will significantly affect the production of crops.
The other thing worth noting is that the people living in cities are rapidly changing their preference for food. People are now more inclined to consume healthy, nutrition-rich, and tasty produce that will not only protect them from diseases but will also see to it that they live longer lives. If the usable land is consistently being depleted as organizations use fertile land to build industries and apartments, it only makes sense to have a solution, in the form of vertical farms.
Greenhouse vertical farming is gradually becoming popular in countries that have severe climatic conditions, as well as the highly urbanized areas in which there is little space for farming activities. The Asia-Pacific region to be the trendsetter in the development of vertical farms. Europe has also been taking significant strides in this field, with its projected CAGR by 2026 being projected to be 26%.
What does vertical farming entail?
Vertical farming is actually a combination of several elements, which include:
- Plant biology
- Hardware manufacturing
- Greenhouse vertical farming software
The vertical farm is usually enclosed in such a way that all the resources that are needed by the crops for growth are presented in the right measures.
Vertical farms can be built from shipping containers, space stations, as well as building stations, provided that one is able to facilitate the provision of the right conditions for the growth of the crops, such as:
- Atmospheric conditions
The good thing about these farms is that these elements are all presented in a controlled and monitored way, to see to it that there is optimal production from every unit. To gain better control of the factors of growth, vertical agriculture farms have to apply various farming techniques, including:
With these techniques, the farmers are able to collect an immense amount of data on the crops in the vertical farms and are also able to utilize those insights to increase the yields.
The requirements for vertical farming on a small scale
- A considerable area of land for the installation of small setups
- Containers for planting the crops
- The right method of irrigation
- A good source of light
- Regular checks to see to it that there is a standard rate of growth.
The requirements for vertical farming for industrial production
- A significantly large portion of land ( less than what you would need for traditional farming)
- Appropriate software program to monitor the growth of crops
- Trained workforce to help with the maintenance of the whole setup
- Architects to design the setup in a manner that will facilitate profitability.
- Sufficient materials for the construction of vertical farms.
- Climate control systems
- Lighting systems to stimulate the growth of the crops
What are the benefits of vertical farms?
Traditional in-field agriculture has been the most relied upon farming approach. Unfortunately, farmers in this setting have had to part with huge amounts of money to deal with crop diseases, pesticide resistance, as well as natural disasters, on a year in year out basis. By switching to vertical farming, the farmers usually get the chance to focus on the crop production activities that matter, and that are aimed at seeing to it that the final produce is of the best quality and that it meets the needs of the consumers. Below are the most outstanding benefits of vertical farming:
No use of pesticides and herbicides
The fact that the crops are grown in a closed setting enhances the minimization of the growth of weeds and the reproduction of pests. The farmers do not have to use pesticides and herbicides, since the growth of the plants is monitored very closely.
Water wastage reduction
The application of precise irrigation techniques has been discovered to minimize the wastage of water by about 70-90%, in comparison to the traditional methods of irrigation.
A major benefit of vertical farming is that it ensures year-round productivity while conserving resources. This makes it possible for the vertical farm units to consistently supply food to the urbanized areas, and to meet the growing demand for food on a global scale.
Vertical farms rely on AI devices and equipment to facilitate the consistent and efficient production of food. This also goes a long way in the reduction of labor costs, when tending to the crops during growth, and at the harvesting stage.
Monitoring and control
These farms heavily rely on software-enriched systems that are tasked with the collection and processing of plant data, in a bid to facilitate the creation of a perfect environment for the growth of each plant.
Unlike the traditional farming systems in which yield projection is not very accurate, with vertical farming, it is possible for farmers to predict how much harvest they can expect at the end of the season. This is quite helpful to the farmers since they can give feedback to various stakeholders, for the purposes of planning.
Savings on land
Vertical farming saves on many acres of land. The vertical farms are designed in such a way that the crops are grown in structures that are stacked on top of each other.
It is apparent that vertical farms are way better than traditional in-field farms, as can be seen by having a look at the cumulative benefits. The fact that vertical farms are gaining popularity in many corners of the world due to the benefits they have to offer is something to keep an eye open for. That said, however, there are also many other trends that will determine the state of the agriculture industry not only in this year but also for the rest of the decade. Investment experts have the following insights to offer about this matter:
That is all I have to share about whether vertical farming is beneficial. The topic is essentially one that is hot at this point in the decade, and one that you can expect to see more of. With the insights presented herein, I am sure you can contribute a thing or two about the subject. You can also have a look at the recommend read above, just to expand your knowledge in this field, and to see how you can make an income investing in this field.
I wish you well,
Eric, Investor and Team Member at Gold Retired!