Vertical Farming is the Future. Why?
All the global pundits are stating it. Vertical farms are poised to capitalise on a US$50bn (€45.6bn) global market opportunity.
However, challenges remain. Vertical Farms could help provide solutions to some of the greatest long-term challenges facing the food system. Agricultural production accounts for almost one-quarter of global greenhouse gases (with 14% linked to animal agriculture), according to data from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. Agriculture uses nearly two-thirds of fresh water and in many countries agricultural is a big contributor to water pollution. The current system of fresh produce production and distribution is also viewed to be extremely wasteful. It is thought that around 20% of fruit and vegetables end up as food waste between harvest and distribution. Added to this, in many regions across the globe, farmers are grappling with shifting weather patterns and extreme weather events such as droughts and floods become more commonplace. The food system is straining under these pressures to some degree and has been further exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
And there are more challenges on the horizon. We will have to produce more food using fewer resources if we are to meet the needs of the growing global population, which the UN expects to rise from 7.7bn people today to 9.7bn people by 2050.
On this basis new high-tech driven solutions will become increasingly important. The potential leveraging of advanced technology such as Vertical Farming can grow hundreds of hectares worth of crops on one equivalent hectare with such precision that produce has been considered more flavourful and often grown without the intervention of pesticides.
Vertical farming does not require deforestation or large amounts of water and does not add to water pollution. And because these highly automated farms can be located virtually anywhere, produce is local and fresher, whilst food waste within its supply chain is minimised. The high levels of automation and controlled environment mean they can be operated 24/7, irrespective of extreme weather patterns. And being located closer to the end consumer unlocks the possibility of shortening supply chains and reducing food waste and eliminating vast amount of food miles.
But it will not be an easy ride and the sector is not for the faint hearted or those looking for a quick financial win.
The energy use of such sites still needs to be reviewed to make it more efficient with the ultimate desire to deploy renewable energy sources to be used at scale. And the product offering needs to expand away from just leafy greens possibly into the likes of berries and soft fruit.
And sourcing the skilled expertise from technical to production and operations to strategic sales in such a relatively new and to some degree unproven food sector on an International basis is not easy.
But Vertical Farming will have a far-reaching impact on all supplier and consumers alike throughout the fresh food value chain. It will be attractive to the now booming home delivery market and to the likes of Amazon who in the UK recently announced that they are morphing fresh food delivery into their online offering. The sector will also benefit from the new messaging based around the benefit of fresher and safer produce to encourage the consumer to purchase on a regular and ongoing manner.
To create a successful Vertical Farming operation the one key element over and above the technical and commercial challenges will be sourcing the right calibre of individuals for your Vertical Farming business.
Redfox has a significant pedigree of successfully sourcing such individuals for a global list of Vertical Farming clients.
If you are looking for the highest calibre of individuals for your business, please contact the Redfox team AS PER THIS LINK.