Vertical farming in India: Misguided dream or a much-needed reality?

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Vertical farming is, literally and figuratively, a thing of beauty. In common man terms, it’s growing food indoors, in vertical layers; a concept global companies have been experimenting with over the past 10 years — filling old warehouses and disused factories with structures that grow vegetables and herbs in cramped, artificially lit quarters out of the warm glow of the sun.

One of the most prominent example of aforementioned global companies is Plenty. Few weeks ago, Jeff Bezos-backed Plenty made headlines for it’s unique agritech model. The California-based company “grows its crops in vertical, indoor towers which use a fraction of the land and water taken up by traditional farms”.

Here’s why vertical farming is the buzz word in agritech community

Exponential population explosion: According to a report by the United Nations, the world’s population is estimated to grow from today’s 7.5 billion people to nearly 10 billion. These numbers present an even bigger challenge with natural resources such as water and arable land becoming scarce. Vertical farming, indeed, is the most favourable solution.

Increase in quality food production: A vertical farm makes farming within the confines of a city, a reality. And when the farms are nearby, the produce is quickly delivered and always fresh; when compared to the refrigerated produce usually available at supermarkets.

Negligible wastage of water: Agricultural industry, across the globe, is one of the biggest polluters using up to 90% of world’s water. But that could change with vertical farming. Due to the regular circulation of water, vertical farms use, in some cases, 95% less water.

Optimum use of energy: Modern vertical farms use less energy, all thanks to their LED lighting, when compared to outdoor farms. Moving forward, renewable energy such as solar energy is expected to be used in the vertical farms, too, to enable huge energy savings.

Does India need vertical farms?

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Yes and no.

India has one of the largest arable lands in the world and the food production has always been on par with the rest of the economies, with states such as Madhya Pradesh representing model farm growth. Even though vertical farming is a great investment, not just for Indian economy but for the world over, there are far bigger issues for the Indian agricultural community to presently tackle that are killing its production value. Key factors gravely impacting agricultural production in India are:

  1. Lack of proper storage
  2. Lack of all-weather roads for efficient transportation
  3. Lack of expert advice on crop management and future planning
  4. Lack of proper delivery methods

Which brings us to the ultimate truth: If we don’t have proper storage facilities, all-weather roads and expert advice on crop management, agricultural produce, through indoor or outdoor farms, is ultimately bound to fail.

Rather than investing in a global trend, Farmkart is instead tackling local problems that the farming community is crippled with. Whether it’s implementing efficient delivery model or enabling farmers with expert advice, visit www.farmkart.com to learn how Farmkart is helping solve India’s biggest agricultural challenges.

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