Vertical farming, Professor Asseng said, allows food production to be completely independent from soil and other climate influences. What are the potential and opportunities in indoor crop-growing systems like these?
You can grow crops in a variety of spaces, from small boxes that you can place in your home or office to large industrial production plants with thousands of square meters. Vertical farming can grow up to 100 layers of crops on one hectare. This will help conserve large areas of agricultural land.
This sounds amazing. This crop production method could offer other benefits.
Vertical farming can allow multiple harvests per year and make a significant contribution to global food security. We can optimize the growing conditions of a crop in closed systems, disconnected from the outside world. This will reduce water consumption by up to 90% and eliminate the need to use chemical crop protection.
Optimal crop care and growth conditions can increase yields by up to ten times. This involves intensive use of technology, such as fully automated crop management and lighting and irrigation systems. This will reduce operational costs.
What do you see as the challenges and obstacles?
Vertical farming is extremely energy-intensive. It is currently unprofitable for crops like grains. However, it is possible to increase the global average annual per-hectare yield of wheat by as much as 6000.
There is also great potential to produce pharmaceutical and protein crops. Vertical farming can control the quality, nutritional content, and flavor of crops. Vertical farming offers promising quality improvements through the introduction of new crop varieties that have been specifically developed for this type. One thing is certain: Vertical farms must be economically viable.
Where do YOU see the greatest need for research?
Research is still needed in many areas. What factors can limit crop growth? The efficient and conservation of energy is another issue. These questions can be answered to reduce energy consumption in indoor facilities and make them more profitable. Vertical farming is a method of growing vegetables, so far.
Will this indoor production method ever replace conventional crop land?
Vertical farming’s success will hinge on the ability of the products to capture a market share. The acceptance of the products by consumers is also important. It may take convincing. Transparency and respect are the only way to achieve this. Vertical farming is also an option for farmers. Farmers are skilled in cropping systems and know how to grow crops. They should be involved in the development and implementation of vertical farming technology.
Vertical farming is a great option for producing healthy, sustainable food. But it won’t replace traditional farming in the fields. Vertical farming is an option, but it can and will be a key part of food production in the future.