Hotraco Horti investigates potential vertical farming opportunities in India

Increasing food demand due to a growing population along with ever decreasing arable lands poses one of the greatest challenges facing the food growing industry. Vertical farming could be one of the answers to that challenge. That is why Hotraco Horti is going to investigate in what degree the company can play a role in vertical farming techniques and especially how horticultural automation systems can contribute to the high demands of vertical farming in the areas of lighting control, heating and ventilation control and optimal fertilisation.

For that reason a thorough field research of three months will take place in Pune, India, where most of the growing companies are established and where our Indian office is located. By taking in-depth interviews with growers, food industry leaders, vertical farming specialists, Hotraco Horti wants to gather information to further develop their current horticultural automation systems and make them ready to challenge the demanding vertical farming needs.

Vertical farming is the practice of producing food on vertically inclined surfaces. Instead of farming vegetables and other foods on a single level, such as in a field or a greenhouse, this method produces foods in vertically stacked layers commonly integrated into other structures like a skyscraper, shipping container or repurposed warehouse. Using Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) technology, this modern idea uses indoor farming techniques. The artificial control of temperature, light, humidity, and gases makes producing foods and medicine indoor possible. In many ways, vertical farming is similar to greenhouses where metal reflectors and artificial lighting augment natural sunlight.

The primary goal of vertical farming is maximizing crops output in a limited space. Vertical farms attempt to produce food in challenging environments, like where arable land is rare or unavailable. The advantages are numerous: higher productivity in a much smaller area, shorter growing times, lower water use and fresh produce grown much closer to where it’s eaten. Vertical farming allows growers to produce more crops from the same square footage of growing area. In fact, 1 acre of an indoor area offers equivalent production to at least 4-6 acres of outdoor capacity. According to an independent estimate, a 30-story building with a basal area of 5 acres can potentially produce an equivalent of 2,400 acres of conventional horizontal farming. Additionally, year-round crop production is possible in a controlled indoor environment which is completely controlled by vertical farming technologies.

If you want to know more about vertical farming, the investigation in Pune, or if you are interested in the opportunities and the outcome of the study, please contact Rick Oomen, business developer at Hotraco Horti. He will be happy to keep you informed.