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Chris Bell

Advantages and Disadvantages of Vertical Farming



Urbanization is quickly taking up the space that would usually be utilized for farming. More people are moving into towns in search of a better life. With the upsurge in the urban populace, more land is being translated into settling grounds as commercial and residential houses are constructed. Therefore, people have to turn to find other means of growing food for consumption.   

Vertical farming is an indoor food production technique that enables city dwellers to produce micro greens, fruits, plus vegetables in minimal and enclosed areas. A very small surface area is required to practice organic farming. Vertical farming can be both beneficial and challenging. Hence, this article will outline some of the advantages and disadvantages of this type of farming.   

Advantages of Vertical Farming

There are numerous pros of vertical farming. Some of them comprise:

·      Crops produce increase and grow all-year-round

It is possible to produce crops all through the year. That can be attributed to the controlled inside the environment, which is regulated by vertical growing technologies. The regulated environment allows the crops to provide optimal yields.

Moreover, vertical farming, when compared to regular field farming, is more productive. For instance, it is estimated that one acreage of an inside space produces crops equivalent to the produce of four to six acres of outside farming activities.   

·      Weather-resistant

Producing crops inside reduces the crops’ susceptibility of the crops to harsh weather conditions such as drought and floods, and pests. The main factor that has led to the success of vertical farming is that the farmers have total control over the environment.

Crops grown in the field are exposed and therefore are vulnerable to the adverse effect of natural calamities such as flooding, torrent rains, drought, and cyclones.

·      Very little water is used

Vertical farming facilitates the production of crops with less water compared to outdoor farming. An estimate of about 70-95% less water is utilized in vertical cultivation.  

·      Production of organic foods

Vertical farming enhances the farming of organic, non-synthetic, and healthy foods. That is made possible by the simple fact that there is limited to no use of herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers to enhance the growth of the crops.

·      Human and environmentally friendly

Inside vertical growing reduces the occupational dangers related to regular outdoor farming. There is no exposure associated with the use of hefty equipment in farming.

Disadvantages of Vertical Farming

Even with the advantages mentioned above, there are some few but serious cons that this intricate system of farming presents. They include the following.

·      They are costly

The vertical farming system can be expensive, especially with construction and technological installations in the system. Constructing the skyscrapers costs, in addition to heating, lighting, and labor costs, can make this system of farming expensive. All these costs may end up outweighing the benefits derived from vertical farming. Therefore, do cost and benefits analyses before you embark on vertical farming.   

  • Large amounts of electricity consumption

Vertical farming, when especially practiced for commercial purposes, utilizes high levels of electricity. Electricity is needed to regulate various growth conditions in the inside farming. For instance, light, which is vital for the growth of plants in the vertical structure, is produced by electricity.

The modern LEDs system is utilized as a source of artificial vertical farming lighting, which enhances productivity. It can be expensive to maintain the LED lighting system as a small-scale farmer. Even for you, as a commercial farmer, they have to incur huge electricity bills.

·      Higher labor costs

They are situated in the urban areas where the costs of labor are high. Additionally, there is a need for skilled labor to facilitate the vertical farming system’s running and success.

·      Pollination difficulty

Since vertical farming takes place in a controlled environment, pollination becomes a challenge where there are no insects. Hence, pollination has to be carried out manually, which is hectic.

·      Too much reliance on technology

The inventions of improved technologies heighten efficiency and diminish costs. However, the vertical growing system is greatly reliant on technology to facilitate various farm operations such as lighting, sustaining temperature, and moisture. Hence, loss of electricity or power even for a single day can result in extensive losses.    

Conclusion

Vertical farming has both advantages and disadvantages. It would be best if you did proper benefits-costs analysis to determine whether it is worth investing in the vertical farming system, or not.