Vertical farming is a type of agriculture in which crops are cultivated in vertically stacked layers. It is done in a controlled environment without the use of soil, utilizing techniques such as aquaponics, hydroponics, and aeroponics. What is vertical farming? It will be explained in full in this post. Advantages and disadvantages of indoor hydroponics farming, vertical farming projects in India, and so on. This is a significant topic for the UPSC test, so read it carefully. Let’s get started.
- What is Vertical Farming?
- Vertical Farming: Types
- Advantages of Vertical Farming
- Disadvantages of Vertical Farming
- Way Forward: Indoor Farming
- Conclusion- Vertical Farming
- FAQ- Vertical Farming
- Editor's Note | Vertical Farming
What is Vertical Farming?
It is a method of growing food on vertically lined surfaces in agriculture. It may be grown in buildings, homes, and other congested settings because it does not require much room. In this procedure, farmers prefer to cultivate food crops on vertical surfaces rather than on a single field or ground.
The vertically stacked-layer method is used to produce crops vertically in multiple structures such as skyscrapers, shipping containers, and several warehouses.
It is Techniques for farming without using soil are described.
Because the crops are grown indoors, they are not affected by the seasons and hence produce good yields all year.
This method can be used to grow lettuce, tomatoes, and other green crops.
With a growing population and limited operating acreage, vertical farming may be employed to meet the world’s expanding food demands.
Vertical farming: Background
- Gilbert Ellis Bailey created the term “vertical farming” in 1915 and went on to write a book with the same name.
- Professor Dickson Despommier first suggested the contemporary notion in 1999.
- He was a Columbia University professor of Public and Environmental Health. When he asked his pupils if food could be grown on the rooftops of New York skyscrapers, they came up with a proposal for a 30-story vertical farm that would feed around 50,000 people using hydroponics and artificial light.
- Despite the fact that the professor’s farm was never built, the concept was popular and inspired many subsequent designs. As a result, governments and developers all over the world are taking notice of vertical farming and implementing it in places like Abu Dhabi, New York, Los Angeles, Bangalore, Dubai, and Beijing, among others. Approximately $1.8 billion was spent on firms working on vertical farms between 2014 and November 2020.
Current Biggest Vertical Farming Project in India
Hon’ble Minister Nitin Gadkari launched AS AGRI AND AQUA’s largest Vertical Farming project in Nagpur, India. This new project in Nagpur, which will be one of Asia’s largest vertical farming projects, is the next step in AS AGRI & AQUA LLP’s rapid expansion in Maharashtra and will offer the great benefits of soil-based vertical farming technology to farmers in the Vidarbha region of Nagpur, India.
Aspirants We also have free study materials on essential UPSC topics for you to use. All of the major UPSC Exam Topics are listed here for you to study. Don’t forget to have a look at them. Let us now discuss vertical hydroponics farming, including techniques, types, and other info.
Vertical Farming: Types
Hydroponics, aeroponics, and aquaponics are the three main vertical farming systems.
- Hydroponics: It’s a method of growing food in water without the need for soil or mineral nourishment. The key benefit of this method is that it reduces soil-related cultivation concerns such as soil-borne insects, pests, & illnesses.
- Aeroponics: NASA’s (National Aeronautical and Space Administration, USA) ambition to find an effective way to grow plants in space in the 1990s inspired the development of aeroponics. There are no growing media in aeroponics and thus no containers for growing crops. Instead of water, mist or nutrient solutions are utilized in aeroponics. It requires very little room, water, and no soil because the plants are attached to a support, and the roots are treated with a nourishing solution.
- Aquaponics: To develop symbiotic interactions between the plants and the fish, the name aquaponics was coined by combining two words: aquaculture, which refers to fish farming, and hydroponics, which refers to the technique of growing plants without soil. The symbiosis is achieved by “fertigating” hydroponic producing beds with nutrient-rich waste from fish aquariums. The hydroponic beds, in turn, serve as bio-filters, removing gases, acids, and chemicals from the water, including ammonia, nitrates, and phosphates.
What is Hydroponics Indoor Farming?
- Hydroponics farming is a technique for growing plants in a nutrient-rich, water-based solution. The roots are suspended in a nutrient-rich purified water system.
- Instead of soil, an inert substance such as perlite, Rockwool, clay pellets, peat moss, or vermiculite is used to support the root system.
- Farming in a Hydroponic System Farms can be set up in as little as a cubicle-sized area with a tech support system that produces a growth-friendly artificial environment.
- This high-tech, environmentally friendly farms are based on the science and principles of hydroponic farming, a soil-free growing method.
- Hydroponics allows the roots of the plants to come into direct contact with the nutritional solution while simultaneously providing oxygen, which is necessary for optimum growth.
- Plants grow organically in hydroponic farming, taking nutrients from reservoirs filled with nutrient-rich and water-based solutions under optimal lighting and temperature conditions.
- Terrestrial plants can be cultivated in a variety of ways using hydroponics.
- The most popular methods include exposing roots to a nutrient-rich liquid or, in some situations, physically supporting the roots with an inert media such as perlite or gravel.
- These technologies allow people to set up equipment and cultivate vegetation within the limitations of their homes. The Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) and Deep Water Culture are the two most widely used hydroponic systems (DWC).
- A shallow stream of water containing dissolved nutrients is re-circulated through bare roots in a thick watertight tube, forming a mat-like layer from which the roots receive nutrients, as in NFT. The mechanism provides an adequate supply of oxygen to the roots.
- Roots are floating in nutrient-rich, oxygenated water under DWC. In the presence of porous stones, the solution is saturated with oxygen injected by an air pump. Given the high degree of oxygen that roots receive, the method is said to be more favorable for plants’ rapid growth.
Advantages of Vertical Farming
- Environmental protection: Vertical farming can aid in the prevention of climate change and environmental preservation. It is possible to avoid deforestation and desertification induced by agricultural encroachment on natural biomes. Producing food indoors decreases or eliminates the use of farm machinery for plowing, planting, and harvesting, conserving the soil, and lowering emissions.
- Conservation of water: Vertical farming enables the production of crops using 70-95 percent less water than traditional farming. Furthermore, natural transpiration will be captured and reused for irrigation because the plants are cultivated in enormous vertical greenhouses.
- Resistant to weather changes: Crops are impervious to weather interruptions because they are grown indoors. In other words, fewer crops are lost due to unusual or extreme weather. The issue of bad weather is especially important for countries that rely on the monsoon, such as India.
- Protect the ecosystem: Vertical farming project is less disruptive to native plants and animals due to their limited area use, resulting in more local flora and wildlife conservation. Because it necessitates such a huge area of arable land, traditional farming is often invasive to natural flora and animals.
Disadvantages of Vertical Farming
- High Cost: Due to their concentration in urban areas, where wages are higher, and the requirement for more specialized labor, labor costs in vertical farming can be much higher. On the other hand, vertical farms may demand fewer employees due to automation. In vertical farms, manual pollination could become one of the more labor-intensive tasks.
- Economic Resilience: Modern engineering and architecture and the application of many technologies are essential for this sort of farm. Constructing inexpensive vertical farm buildings adds to the overall investment and operating costs.
- Pollination is hampered: Vertical farming is done in a regulated, insect-free environment. As a result, human pollination will be required, which will be time-consuming and costly.
- The Rural Sector is Being Disrupted: Another anticipated problem and disadvantage of vertical farming is its potential to disrupt the agricultural economy, particularly in communities where agriculture is the primary source of income. Traditional farming employment may become obsolete as a result of vertical farms. Farmers with no experience in vertical farming would be out of work. Agriculture-dependent communities would undoubtedly suffer.
- Large Amounts of Electricity are Required: Electricity is required to grow foods such as grains, vegetables, and fruits. We’ll have to rely on artificial lights to encourage development, which can be costly.
Way Forward: Indoor Farming
In India, vertical farming is still in its beginnings, but it needs to be promoted more to ensure improved food security as the population grows. It has the potential to help combat malnutrition and improve food delivery. While these alternative methods can be used by a broad range of stakeholders, from small-scale farmers to large-scale farmers, specialized experience and expertise must be acquired to ensure safe, successful, and long-term application. With vertical farming techniques, farming conversations can shift away from land limits and toward more sustainable farming methods. In addition, the science of various vertical farming systems can be taught in schools, resulting in the development of long-term learners at a young age.
Conclusion- Vertical Farming
In conclusion, by reading the above essay, you will understand all aspects of vertical farming in India (Hydroponic indoor farming). It’s crucial for your UPSC. So remember to read it thoroughly. You can also go to the UPSC’s official website to receive up-to-date information that will be useful to you.
FAQ- Vertical Farming
Vertical farms are typically found indoors, such as in a warehouse, where they can regulate the environmental conditions necessary for plants to thrive.
Many vertical farms choose hydroponics as a technique of plant nutrition. Hydroponic farming is based on the idea of growing plants in water rather than soil. Of course, fertilizers must be supplied to the water in order for the plants to remain healthy and productive.
Yes, hydroponic food has a unique taste from soil-grown vegetables. On the other hand, various varieties of soil generate plants with different flavors.
Editor’s Note | Vertical Farming
In this essay, we’ve covered everything you need to know about vertical indoor farming in India, hydroponics farming, the benefits and drawbacks of indoor farming, and other useful information for your IAS exam preparation. The most significant part of this exam is time management throughout practice. As a result, make adjustments to your daily routine. finally, best wishes.