Vertical farming is the technique of producing food in stacked layers or on vertically inclined surfaces which comprises of new automated farms. It requires less natural dependency and helps in reducing the dependency and cost of skilled labourers, weather conditions, soil fertility or high water usage.
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- Modern day vertical farming includes controlled environment agriculture technology i.e. CEA technology. All other environmental factors can be controlled using this technique. Techniques such as augmentation of sunlight by artificial lightning and by metal reflectors are also used for producing a similar greenhouse-like effect.
- Vertical farms is a pesticide-free technique which requires much less input than traditional farming methods and gives much more output.
- Farms embedded with this technique uses artificial lighting systems that facilitate enhanced photosynthesis. LEDs are placed near plants to impart specific wavelengths of lights for more photosynthesis. This enhances productivity.
- ‘Aeroponic mist’ is another technique used which helps in supplying the proper amount of oxygen and other soil nutrients. This makes the nature of growth more robust.
- Some of the major advantages of this farming techniques are as follows
- Reliable harvest- No existence of the term ‘seasonal crops’. Irrespective of sunlight, pests or extreme temperature, these farms can easily meet the demand of contractors anytime.
- Minimum overheads – Nearly 30% profitability can be obtained through this growing technique.
- Low energy usage – Use of computerized LEDs by giving proper wavelength reduces energy to a great extent.
- Low labour costs – Fully automated technique so no skilled labours are required.
- Low water usage – Controlled transpiration technique are used. It requires only 10% of the water usage of traditional technique.
- Reduced washing and processing – No pests control required. Reduces the cost of damage washing.
- Reduced transportation costs – Can be established in any location. This reduces the cost of transportation and usage.
- Increased growing area – Enables cost effective farming and provides nearly 8 times more productivity.
- Maximum crop yield – Irrespective of other geographic factors this technique gives maximum yield.
- A wide range of crops – Growth of crop are maintained by an intensive database which enables them to grow a wide range of crops such as Baby spinach, Baby rocket, Basil, Tatsoi, Leaf lettuce.
- Fully integrated technology – All environmental factors are closely monitored and are maintained in an optimal range.
- Optimum air quality
- Optimum nutrient and mineral quality
- Optimum water quality
- Optimum light quality
All these technologies used leads to a dramatic shift in plant growth rates and their yields.
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Prepared by Pritam
Pritam is a 3rd year engineering student in B.P. Poddar institute of management and technology, Kolkata.
Twitter handle @pritam_gogreen