According to a new market research report by MarketsandMarkets, the indoor farming technology market wil reach a value of USD 24.8 billion by 2026. Aeroponics is considered to be the future of indoor farming technology.
The market size is estimated to account for a value of USD 14.5 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at a CAGR 9.4% from 2020. According to the report, the higher yield as compared to conventional agriculture practices, controlled environment farming, and improved yield and higher produce with limited land resources, are some of the key factors driving the growth of the indoor farming technology market during the forecast period.
According to USDA data, in 2016, the average yield of tomatoes grown in greenhouse hydroponics was 10.59 pounds per square foot, and that of traditionally grown tomatoes was 1.85 pounds per square foot. “Therefore, indoor farms can increase the overall crop yield by stacking additional layers and increasing the growing area,” the researchers say.
In vertical farming, every facility developed reduces the need for utilising land by a hundred-fold, states the report. The level of water wastage is less when compared to conventional farming. Indoor farms recirculate and reuse the water; an average of 95% less water is required to grow the same crops as compared to outdoor farming.
The initial cost of the indoor farming set-up is higher compared to the investment required in traditional farming. One of the main factors responsible for the high investment is the cost of urban land, which is higher than that of farmland. Furthermore, energy accounts for a higher percentage of operating costs for both vertical farms and greenhouses. For instance, in vertical farming operations, lights run for 16 hours per day, while in greenhouses, light is applied to plants for 9 hours per day in winter.
While the vertical farming sector has raised over $ 1 billion in funding since 2015, the sector faces huge challenges. Read why the Vertical farming sector struggles with costs
Powering up a farmscraper for lights and controlling ambient temperatures involve high costs and are labor-intensive. Controlling the environment within buildings with regard to lighting, temperature, pollination, and the arrangement of plants is important for an ideal indoor farm.
Farmers are required to make a high initial investment for the devices and equipment used for indoor farming. This is one of the major restraints for the indoor farming technology market, say the researchers.
By growing system, the aeroponics segment is estimated to observe the fastest growth in indoor farming technology market. According to MarketsandMarkets, Aeroponics is considered to be the future of indoor farming technology. The technology facilitates faster plant growth, enabling the cultivation of more plants or seeds in lesser time than normal conditions.
Aeroponics can be controlled externally through computers or timers for the release of moist air at regular intervals and does not require the frequent use of pesticides, weeding, and other maintenance processes as compared to conventional farming.
Aeroponics is associated with very little water, automation and high tech systems. But what is the current potential of aeroponics technology to grow food or cannabis crops economically? Aeroponics: Growing in the mist