Vertical farming, is a new age farming technique for producing medicine and food in vertical stacked layers. It is also called as Indoor farming, as the vertical farms are mostly integrated with structures such as a skyscraper, and thus are placed indoors. Vertical farming is a new and conventional farming method as it does not involve conventional farming practices that are tiresome and require a lot of effort. Instead, vertical farms need a very small space, and different plant species can be grown according to its tailored needs which helps the plants to grow healthier and faster as compared to traditional faming.
Due to the shifting and growing population in urban areas, and conversion of agricultural lands into commercial zones, there has been a significant decline in the agricultural production worldwide. Factors such as increasing prices of agricultural commodities and poor management practices will not be able to fulfill the needs of the growing population in the near future. Vertical farming technique enables to produce more crops per square feet than the traditional farming practices. This technique enables us to do customized farming which provides a total control over the development of the crops along with their growing conditions such as temperature, nutrition, etc. Vertical farms require very less water and the major benefit is that it can be done all year round and not just in certain seasons.
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The vertical farming system can be built anywhere, on a building, in a used factory and on skyscrapers. It is better for growing herbs, vegetables and fast growing crops. It is cost effective and a rapid growing farming technique
The global Vertical Farming market can be segmented on the basis of Model, Structure and Crop type
On the basis of Model, the Vertical Farming market can be segmented into hydroponics, aeroponics and aquaponics. In hydroponics sub segment, the farming done is without soil. Hydroponics use only water for the development of plants. The water used in hydroponics is rich in nutrients, which helps the plants to grow. In aeroponics, the plants are grown on cloth instead of soil and are periodically sprayed with nutrient rich water on their roots. The aquaponics involves use of hydroponics with fish breeding in the water. The fish culture helps to generate the nutrients and bacteria required by the plants for growth.
Based on the Structure, the vertical farming market can be sub-segmented into buildings and shipping containers. The vertical farms can be established in buildings such as commercial buildings, old factories, skyscrapers, etc. The vertical farms can also be established on stackable shipping containers. The containers offer rigid support and spacing options for the vertical farms and can be stacked for bigger farming space.
On the basis of Crop type, the vertical farming market can be sub-segmented into herbs, vegetables and others sub segment. Herbs are fast growing plants and are used mainly for medicinal purposes. For vegetables, the vertical farms are the best sources. Vegetables are also fast growing plants and can be grown all year round, specially the seasonal ones through vertical farming. The others sub segment include other plants that can be grown by vertical farming such as flowering plants, spices, fruits (strawberries), ornamental plants, etc.
Global Market Drivers and Restraints:-
The major drivers for vertical farming market are: more crop yield per square unit of land, controlled and soil-less farming technique and cost effective farming. This technique offers a year round supply of fresh and organic vegetables free from soil, contaminants and fertilizers, which acts as a driver for the vertical farming market.
The vertical farming market has some restraints that counter the development of these farms, such as high set up and initial investment and high operating costs for using lights and other automated deives.
North America and Europe are the key regions driving the vertical Farming market in terms of small scale and commercial set up of vertical farms, followed by Asia Pacific. North America Vertical Farming market is likely to grow in the near future due to their higher per capita set up of small scale vertical farms. Asia Pacific market is also showing a significant growth rate.
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Some of the key players who are driving the Vertical Farming market are Illumitex, Inc., Urban Crops, AeroFarms, Sky Greens, Green Sense Farms LLC, Neofarms, Everlight Electronics Co., Ltd., BrightFarms, Koninklijke Philips N.V. and others.