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Benefits of Vertical Farming

Places like Hong Kong and Singapore have no place to spread in horizontal manner due to the geographic limitations, so the only option available to them is to grow upwards.

The world’s population today stands at a staggering 7 billion. With the food prices always climbing up the ladder, the challenge is to feed the ever-hungry human race. It is estimated that about 5 million to 7 million hectares of farming land is vanishing each year due to the rapid urbanization and the constant improvement in the infrastructure around the world. A lot of degradation of the land is done by the excessive use of farming land. The soil nutrients are lost due to the over-use of the fertile land. The farming land is reducing by the day and the concrete jungle increasing by the hour. Increasing population, decreasing farming land, exhausting fertile land, extreme wastage and improper handling of food grains are some of the major reasons for the rising food prices.

We already have so many countries where one good meal a day per person is a dream which hardly comes true. There are so many countries where people sleep empty stomach. Though this problem is not going to vanish overnight; vertical farming can bring some relief. The concept is age old now being getting the light of day again considering the food crunch. The idea behind vertical farming is to grow floors and floors with crops, fruits and orchards. A report says that by 2050, 80% of the world population would love to reside in big cities. Citing this Prof. Dickson Despommier of the University of Columbia states that one should grow where one is living.

Some of the places like Hong Kong and Singapore have no place to spread in horizontal manner due to the geographic limitations, so the only option available to them is to grow upwards.

In vertical farming the crops are grown hydroponically. This is the method in which crops are grown in solution which is nutrient rich and added with fertilizers. The plants are not grown in the soil. In this method as the plants are readily provided with the nutrients, the roots do not grow far and wide in search of minerals as in soil and so the roots do not become large and bulky. This way a large number of crops and fruits can be grown in smaller area. The term ‘hydroponics’ was first used by Dr. W. F. Gericks in the late 1930s but it was Sachs and Knop to first grow plants without soil.

Vertical farming would be beneficial in number of ways:

• The crops can be grown in controlled environment.

• Minimum use of pesticides, herbicides and fungicides is possible.

• Thorough use of recycling methods for water and nutrients can be done.

• Natural lights are always preferable but if in case it is not provided even grow lights can work.

• Weather, soil erosion, flood and drought would not be a problem

• Round the year yield can be produced.

• No danger from rodents and other animals.

• Transportation cost would be reduced a lot.

• As the entire yield will be produced under serious observation, the chances of infectious diseases would be considerably reduced.

• No need of making beds for plants and no need for weeding.

But with every yang comes the yin. There are certain disadvantages with vertical farming and hydroponics which can be dealt if proper care is taken. As the nutrients will be provided artificially, immense care should be taken to provide the right amount. The nutrient imbalance might cause certain deficiencies in the crops. The other major problem is to provide light throughout the year with LEDs. This requires preparation on a vast scale with lot of cost considerations. With technology changing the face of human race even this hurdle will be dealt adequately.

Vertical farming can surely become huge success.

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Comments (2)

Vertical farming has become necessary and inevitable today. Thank you Iram. I have added you as my friend. Hope to avail your friendship and see more of your articles.

Thank you Iram for the benefits of vertical farming.

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