Increase in population and decline in the production of food has led to adopt more advanced techniques for agriculture. Vertical farming is one of such modern technology invented to enhance the traditional way of farming. It is a process of cultivating the crops in vertically stacked layers to increase more production with less utilization of soil and water. Although it is becoming pretty much famous in well developed countries, its importance is slowly growing in India. So lets see about this modern farming technology in detail.
- Although the idea of indoor farming belongs to ancient period, it is modified and represented by a professor called Dickson Despommier of environmental health sciences and microbiology.
How does it work ?
- Usually vertical farming is carried for small scale crops like lettuce, broccoli, tomato etc.
- This technique is carried in warehouses, greenhouses or large buildings to get same amount of water, light and nutrients to the entire crop.
- Instead of sunlight LED bulbs are used to provide equal amount of light energy.
- All the stacked layers will have its own watering and nutrient monitoring systems.
- Each plant has sensors to give the information about the required nutrients. At the same time the whole system is provided with special monitors to track down the plant diseases.
- The main purpose of this farming is to increase the food production with minimal usage of soil and water.
- As it is land free cultivation, so much money and time is saved without any pesticides and fungicides.
- Because it is carried in indoors, less labor and machinery is needed with no season restrictions.
- Compared to traditional farming the yield would be greatly high in this technique.
- Vertical farming gives high quality of yield in less time compared to traditional farming.
- Outdoor farming has so many weather factors that affect the growth and final yield of the crop. Virtual farming is free from weather disturbances, the only threat it could get is through earthquakes or tornados.
- Even though it gives very good profits, it is a huge task for small scale farmers to spend so much money on it.
- Vertical farming is limited to certain crops. It is very difficult to farm even medium size crops like maize, sugarcane etc.
- Separate seed stations are needed to germinate the seedlings which increases the cost burden.
- One more drawback is dependency on expensive LED lights. Crops grown in vertical farming requires high energy which results in expensive electric charges.
- Traditional farming depends on nature climate where as vertical farming depends on technology. As a result, failure in any of the system affects on the plant growth.
- In India the usage of this farming is in initial stage compared to other countries.
- In vertical farming different techniques like Hydroponics, Aeroponics and Aquaponics are used depending up on the requirements. Each technology has their own price range.
- At an average, 100 stacked layers cost nearly 13 to 15 lakhs for a small scale warehouse including the cost of seed station, ventilation station, climate control system and LED bulbs.