The decreasing arable land and depleting natural resources is motivating the crop growing communities towards effective farming practices that follow the ‘law of minimum’. Vertical farming, which involves controlled production of plants in multiple vertical layered setups, such as controlled-environment buildings, repurposed warehouses, growth chambers and shipping containers evolved as a solution. The major advantages associated with vertical farming includes reduced agricultural runoff, optimized energy usage, minimum overheads, and low labour costs. The use of innovative irrigation systems and lighting methods enable vertical farming to support food production throughout the year.
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The growing demand for precision farming owing to declining arable land other natural resources is the primary factor for the growth of vertical farming market. Rising population across the globe is increasing the demand for food. However, the area of cultivable land is declining across the globe owing to factors such as urbanization, soil erosion, and over cultivation. This is driving the need for sustainable farming practices that ensure larger yields with minimal utilization. Vertical farming evolved as an effective alternative to traditional farming practices owing to its high yielding potential at minimum inputs. Vertical farms consume 90% less water compared with traditional farming and produce low Co2 emissions.
Minimum food transportation and higher crop yield led to increased adoption by the local farmers in sustainable farming technologies. Growing consumer demand for organic food and similar features practiced in vertical farming is another factor contributing to the growth of global vertical farming market. These vertical farming methods restricts the use of synthetic pesticides, growth hormones and antibiotics, allowing the produce to meet organic standards. According to the Organic Industry Survey conducted by Organic Trade Association in May 2018, the annual sale of Organic food in United States increased from USD 45.2 Billion in 2017 to USD 47.9 Billion in 2018. Advancements in data-driven technologies such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence, and Big Data are leveraging the vertical farming practices. Utilization of these technologies enable quick collection of high-quality data related to plant growth, thus enabling the growers to effectively control the farm.
High energy consumption associated with vertical farming and high cost of produce over conventional farming are hindering the growth of global vertical farming market.
By Distribution Channel
Fruits & Vegetables
By region, the global vertical farming market is segmented into North America, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle-East and Africa.
North America is expected to dominate the global vertical farming market owing to large number of vertical farming centers across the region and growing consumer demand for fresh and organic vegetables produced from vertical farming technologies. Major food chains and grocery stores are adding freshly produced fruits and vegetables from vertical farming companies to their aisle due to easy availability and organic nature.
The grocery stores in East Coast of United states such as Whole Foods, ShopRite, and Fresh Direct are selling high-end baby greens produced from Aerofarms. The dining halls at Goldman Sachs and The New York times have initiated purchase of greens from major vertical farming companies such as AeroFarms.
Urban farming of leafs and vegetables through vertical farming technologies reduce the travel time and delivery time, thereby improving the nutritional content in the greens and vegetables. Growing government funding activities for the development of urban farming techniques is additionally contributing to the growth of North America vertical farming market. In 2017, The Manhattan Borough President Office has funded USD 1 million discretionary capital funding for urban agriculture program focused on hydroponics and aquaponics.
The market is expected to foresee major investment from the venture capitalists into innovative startups based on vertical farming. Growing demand for sustainable agricultural techniques and increased funding by government organizations in sustainable agricultural practices is expected to boost establishments of new vertical farms across the globe.
Some of the key players in global vertical farming market includes AeroFarms LLC, Plenty Unlimited Inc, Green Spirit farms LLC, and Bowery Farming Inc.
Global vertical farming market is experiencing new farm establishments in developing nations to cater the consumer demand for fresh and organic foods. For instance,
In January 2019, Local grown Salads launched Indoor Vertical farms in Opportunity zones located in Baltimore, Washington DC, and Nashville. Local Grown Salads provide Ready-to-Eat Salads, Ready-To-Use herbs and vegetables that are Organic, GMO-Free, herbicide & Insecticide free.