VF in Pakistan, rare but not non-existent

VF in Pakistan, rare but not non-existent

Vertical farming — the practice of growing crops in vertically stacked layers — is gaining traction across the world due to better production prospects as the world’s population continues to grow. A recent United Nations report put the expected global population at around 8.5 billion in 2030 and 9.7 billion in 2050.

The history of hydroponics, defined as growing plants in nutrient-rich water with or without any supporting media like sand and gravel, is as ancient as conventional agricultural practices. More recently, microbiologist Dickson Despommier, public health professor at Columbia University, and his students came up with a conceptual 30-story skyscraper in the 90s, where 100 kinds of fruits and vegetables in vertical farms would grow, along with housing fish and chicken, in an integrated operation.

According to India-based Allied Market Research, the global market cap of vertical farming was valued at $3.24 billion in 2020 and is predicted to reach $24.11 billion by 2030. Though the major share was exhibited by hydroponics, the most growth in the upcoming years will be registered by the aeroponics segment of the industry. Vertical farming is carried out in a controlled environment that can either be hydroponics, aquaponics or aeroponics with their respective benefits and challenges.

There are six different ways of growing plants in a hydroponic or any soilless environment ranging from deep water culture systems to the aeroponic technique — suspending plants in the air and exposing their roots to a nutrient-filled mist. The most widely used globally as well as in Pakistan is the drip system, which constantly pumps nutrient solution through tubes serving individual plants. Excess water can either be re-circulated or drained out of the system depending on your business needs but this kind of design has the edge over others due to the extensive variety of plants and the ease with which it can be scaled to support larger operations.

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Image by fanjianhua on Freepik



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