Vertical Farming- Latest Technology and Trends

A method of cultivating crops on a vertically tilted surface in an urban environment is known as vertical farming. Crops are grown vertically in stacks rather than in a single layer across a wide area of land. In contrast to traditional farming, vertical farming uses technologies to create an artificial environment inside a facility that enables plants to grow quickly and with high nutritional value. The market for vertical farming is expanding due to its requirement for minimal resources such as land, water, and labor, as well as its ability to sustain annual crop production irrespective of weather conditions. Additionally, the rising demand for organic food is also contributing to this growth.

According to a recent report published by Allied Market Research, the global vertical farming market is estimated to display a noteworthy CAGR from 2021 to 2030. Furthermore, increasing groundwater depletion and changing climatic conditions have compelled traditional growers to adopt alternative farming methods. To gain a foothold in the vertical farming industry, market participants have used various strategies such as collaboration and partnership, product launch, acquisition, and joint venture. For instance, in order to set up a business in Riyadh, to establish and run indoor vertical farms in Saudi Arabia and the larger MENA region, the ‘Public Investment Fund' and Aerofarms, a US-based commercial market leader in vertical farming, signed in a joint venture agreement on February 1st, 2023.

By implementing indoor vertical farming, which eliminates the need for arable land and results in much higher yields, while using only 5% of the water required for traditional field farming, the agreement aims to maximize the use of natural resources, such as water and agricultural land. The collaboration is anticipated to enable year-round, sustainable local sourcing of high-quality crops grown on AeroFarms' unique AgTech platform, addressing the industry's larger supply chain requirements. In the upcoming years, the collaboration intends to construct and operate a number of farms throughout the area.
On the other hand, in Abu Dhabi, AeroFarms, a US-based company, unveiled its R&D indoor vertical farm on February 16, 2023. For its high-tech labs, the indoor vertical farm will recruit more than 60 highly qualified professionals, including horticulturists, engineers, and scientists. The labs will research next-generation machine learning, machine vision, automation, and robotics, as well as precision phenotyping, phytochemical analysis, and organoleptic research. The facility will work with regional businesses and universities on research and development to address issues with agriculture in arid and desert environments.

In February 2023, researchers in Purdue University developed two effective methods for LED lighting that can enhance productivity and decrease energy expenses in the vertical farming industry for indoor agriculture. The Ph.D. student Fatemeh Shebani and professor Cary Mitchell, both from Purdue's College of ‘Agriculture's department of horticulture and landscape architecture', developed the close-canopy and focused-lighting strategies to take advantage of the unique qualities of LED lighting. Compared to other lighting options, they are relatively cool at the emitting surface, allowing the lighting system to be used closer to plants without damaging them.

To conclude, the global vertical farming market is growing rapidly with innovative products on board. And, it is expected to bloom even better in the coming years.

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