Higher Yields Using Limited Space and Water
The world population is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050 according to a United Nations report. This means there will be 2 billion more people to feed (1). Moreover, it is predicted that 68% of this population will live in cities. Population growth in the cities will come with increased food demand. The big question is how to feed this increasing population in a healthy and sustainable way?
Approximately 820 million people are faced with malnutrition today (2). It means that one out of nine people in the world is not sufficiently nourished. While there is such a problem of hunger in the world, there is also food waste. Some of the food produced in the world is wasted during production processes, during transportation, or at the point of consumption. We are living in a world where the food system is under pressure. Globally, agriculture accounts for enormous water consumption, with an average of 70%. Even if water has the potential to be a renewable source, it is limited. Today human use in an unsustainable way, pollution, and climate change put water resources under stress. In many parts of the world, it is expected that people will experience new and higher temperatures. More droughts, more floods, reduced levels of precipitation, and overall increased climate variability because of climate change. Traditional farming methods are becoming increasingly inefficient and unpredictable as a result of these difficulties. We need to make our agriculture system more resilient by using less water, fewer pesticides, and making crops less vulnerable to changes in the climate.
These problems have many solutions and one of them is smart agriculture. Even if digitalization is not a silver bullet, we believe that startups can solve some of the biggest problems affecting our agricultural system.
One of the smart farming methods is Indoor Farming which could offer some solutions to all these problems. It allows for more production in less area. Since vast agricultural lands are not needed, indoor farms can be built near urban areas and prevent food waste during transportation. It enables farmers to give fresh, healthful produce to their community 365 days a year, as well as supplement outdoor production by giving a steady source of income. It increases food security by diversifying our supply lines. It also has a lengthy list of environmental benefits, including conserving natural resources like land and water, eliminating the need for chemical pesticides, and minimizing the need to carry food across oceans.
What is Indoor Farming?
Indoor farms are farming facilities in controlled environments. When we say indoor farming we also mention vertical and urban farming solutions. Indoor Farming is a complex ecosystem with too many technologies(hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics) and different business models(B2B/B2C).
In urban agriculture, it is possible to grow on rooftops or use high technology to grow food in controlled environments. Vertical Agriculture; is based on the purpose of agricultural production in the layers placed vertically where there is little or no agricultural land. Generally, farming is made under controlled conditions for optimizing production. Hydroponic, aquaponic, aeroponic systems, and LED technology systems are used (3).
No soil/Less Water
Depending on the preferred method, for some systems, no soil is required. In the regions close to the cities where there are few agricultural lands, production can be done thanks to vertical agriculture. Indoor Farming methods use 95% less water than traditional farming
Reduced supply chain
Indoor farming technologies permit to reduce the food supply chain, as products can be grown in the heart of the city, often directly at points of sale. Thus, customers can purchase fresh produce, retaining all its original nutritional qualities, which are lost when the product is transported and refrigerated.
Indoor Farming can have far-reaching benefits by directly contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. “Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”(4).
Retrieved from: https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/
A Growing Market
The indoor farming technology market is estimated at USD 14.5 billion in 2020; it is projected to reach USD 24.8 billion by 2026 (5). In Turkey the trend is not different than the rest of the world, indoor farming is growing so is the number of startups. There is good news from tURKİSH ınddor Farming startups in the last months for example Vahaa has been selected for the first phase of the FTxSDG Challenge, Local greens received investment. We believe in the Turkish startup ecosystem and we are sure that we will see more developments in this area.
We put the startups under three different categories. The first one is Turnkey Indoor Farming Sytems(Commercial/Consumer), the second one is Vertical Growers and the third one is Indoor farming Component Technologies.
Vertical Growers startups work for a B2C model. They sell their microgreens, vegetables directly to consumers or via retailers. Turnkey Indoor Farming Systems startups work for B2B or BSC model. They develop farming systems and sell them to corporates or they develop smart gardens for homes and sell them to consumers. Indoor Farming Components startups work for B2B model they develop component technologies and sell them.
This is not a full-scale map of the Indoor Farming Startups of Turkey. For more information www.kokprojekt.com