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Farming Innovation

Farming Innovation by journalist Maryanne Kane

There is a shortage of food production globally.  The reasons are many.  Low water availability, dramatic changes in climate, soil contamination, limited space in urban areas and particularly growing demand as the global population grows.  Demand dramatically escalates in thirty years.  By 2040 the world population is projected to grow by 3 billion people.  How will global food supplies meet global demand? Farming innovation is the answer.  And, a number of breakthrough agricultural innovations are underway.  One being deployed in the United Kingdom is an all robotic run farm.  Robots and drones successfully planted and harvested a large crop of barley.  See our post https://innovation-gamechangers.com/2018/03/31/robotic-innovation-down-on-the-farm/

Vertical Farming

Vertical farming is at the forefront of farming innovation.  It’s the practice of producing food indoors.  The system operates as vertically stacked layers, vertically inclined surfaces and/or integrated into other structures.  It uses Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technology.  It’s a hot market.  Experts project a $40,25 billion market in the technology that supports it by 2022.  The technology segments according to facility type.  Examples include glass or poly greenhouses which are, by far, the biggest segment.  Also indoor farms, container farms and indoor deep water culture (DWC) systems.

Farming Innovation – Indoors and Vertically

Benefits of indoor, vertical farming are immense.  Weather isn’t a factor.  There is no problems with drought and flooding.  No pesticide exposure to farm workers.  And, wild animals aren’t disrupted. Additionally, there are reduced issues with food security. The market drives forward on rising demand for fresh foods with high nutrition value.  Also the need for higher yields using less space and water.  The big problem with indoor, vertical farming is the very high initial investment costs.  That puts some restraints on growth.

Asia-Pacific Region Leading Indoor Farming Growth

Research experts project the Asia-Pacific region will be the fastest growing market for indoor farming in the next 5 years.  The basis of that projection is the number of indoor farms in China and Japan currently are significantly growing.  Even in those countries, initial investment costs are relatively high.  And, at the moment, there is a limit to the types of crops such as tomatoes, potatoes and cucumbers that can be effectively grown.

Emerging Farming Innovation

Other areas of emerging agricultural innovation include hydroponics.  That’s a method of growing plants in mineral nutrient solutions in water without soil.  Aeroponics, which is growing plants in air or mist without soil.   And, aquaponics, which is a system that combines aquaculture (growing aquatic animals in tanks) with hydroponics (growing plants in water) in a symbiotic environment.

For much more on crop science, check out our post with the CEO of Bayer AG  https://innovation-gamechangers.com/2018/03/02/innovation-addressing-the-worlds-greatest-needs-bayer-ag-ceo-dr-dekkers-podcast/  

Also Bayer AG  http://www.bayer.com

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