Vertical farming undoubtedly is an approach in the modern era that is not just being looked up to by the world's policymakers but by the citizens and investors too. The business is proliferating and is an investable option for many who want to sustainably contribute to climate change. But the question is - every time will it reap benefits or not? Will that be something that forever sustains without any highs and lows? Well, let's find out in this blog and understand the advantages and disadvantages of vertical farming.
First, let's start with the advantages of vertical farming. Most of us already know the wide benefits of it - but let's dig deeper and figure out what more it offers.
Ensures year-round food production: Vertical farming is a new concept which does not depend upon external weather conditions to produce yields. Moreover, the enclosed farms with the help of artificial lighting and controlled environmental conditions ensure that each product inside the farm is facilitated with the right amount of temperature and moisture. Hence vertical farming is capable of growing even fruits and vegetables which are particularly grown in a specific region.
For example, Basil needs very high temperatures for its production. So in the UK, it can be grown through conventional farming - only for a few months. However, with the help of Hydroponics, it can be made easily accessible all year round.
Optimal Utilisation of Vertical Spaces: Unlike conventional farming which requires lands highly fertile, green and at optimal temperature surrounded - that is not the case with vertical farming which only needs space and some technology to get it started. Designing and building farms can be done literally in all geographies of the world. Even a small portion of land could let you grow veggies, fruits and salads that probably would never have been possible with the traditional methods.
Technologically backed: To avoid food wastage and agronomic constraints - vertical farming uses a lot of technology that helps it monitor every aspect of uncertainties. Some of the prime examples are big data analytics, robotics, the internet of things, artificial intelligence etc. These technologies together not only make it more efficient but also effective in the long run.
Energy Efficient: Energy efficiency is one of the prime features that go into vertical farming. By using LED lighting and other modes of energy - vertical farming ensures that maximum energy is saved for the future and only that amount is used, which is required for production.
Less Labour Cost: Labour cost depends on the area your vertical farm is occupying space in. For example, if vertical farming is located in a very small area, say indoors, it wouldn't at all require much of a cost. Whereas, if it is spread in a wider location, it will cost you much.
Reduces Food Wastage: According to the statistics, food is wasted when the weather is uncertain, they are grown in a particular place and consumed somewhere else etc. Vertical farming eliminates all of these issues. A controlled and insulated environment makes harvest easy and vertical farming being done anywhere, makes it certain that the food is produced exactly close to where it has to be consumed.
Caters the demand of growing population: With the population rising exponentially, conventional farming requires extensive labour, heavy investment and is at the same time uncertain to a fact whether it'll be able to cater for the needs of all the people. However, with the help of modern farming techniques, 3x more production is possible that too at a less period.
Resistant to Climate Change: Climate change is a very alarming issue which needs to be catered to as soon as possible. A lot of countries are moving together to combat this issue and are looking out for ways to curb it. Vertical farming is very promising in this. By installing solar panels - a source of clean energy, on their rooftops - more countries are now increasing their renewable energy production.
Disadvantages of Vertical Farming
Vertical farming is costly: Given the technology that goes into vertical farming, along with the setup cost - it will not be prudent to term it as a costly investment if it is not for the long term. Likewise, in many urban settings and locations, the cost of urban settings is very high - making it a "second-thought" deal when it comes to investment. Investors hesitate in the first place to even give it a chance looking at the cost it might incur at present and in the future.
Too much of the technology: As known, vertical farming is a technology-driven approach that solely makes it worth the investment. However, it is not just one technology that makes it run but a series of them. The hindrance of any one of the technologies could hamper the overall production. So, this is one of the reasons why most people reconsider starting their vertical farming setup.
Requires skilled labours: Vertical farming is not one of those practices that will yield produce on its own but requires manpower that is trained and skilled at the same time. Moreover, basic technological power is of utmost importance which makes it a very selective practice and unpopular at the same time.
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of vertical farming, you can best decide for yourself whether this will fit right to your interest or not. The purpose of this blog was to equip you with a knowledge of both its advantages and disadvantages without being biassed. With its popularity growing fast, it is wise to know what areas it lacks and why. For more such blogs on vertical farming, do keep a check on our Global Vertical Farming Show's website wherein we keep you updated with the latest postings and updates of the industry.