Despite the significant boom of vertical farms in the world, in Ukraine, their development is not observed. It is because three factors: low awareness and awareness of such systems, the low environmental value of the product among consumers and the potentially low competitiveness of vertical farm products at a price compared to the production of classic farms. Roman Puchko, a member of the Council for the Development of Innovations under the Prime Minister of Ukraine, wrote about this in his blog on the site “Liga.Business”.
According to him, few consumers are interested in the origin of greenery, lettuce or vegetables and think about the conditions and technology in which they were grown. In addition, because of the misunderstanding of consumers of added value in the form of a more “healthy” image, the cultivation of the production of vertical farms, the demand for it will be limited to restaurants and elite or “eco” stores.
Of course, vertical farms have their shortcomings. The main one is high investment per unit area and the fact that instead of the free sun, electricity is used, the lion’s share of which is now generated from fossil resources. In addition, these objects can only grow a limited list of positions, and livestock in the format of vertical farms can still be forgotten.
At the same time, vertical farms have a number of advantages over traditional ones. They do not use pesticides and do not pollute the ecosystem in their area of activity. Also, they do not produce any waste and the finished product – the only thing that leaves the farm. Moreover, vertical farms allow you to save water. Modern agriculture uses 70% of fresh water on Earth, and vertical farms use water 70-95% less than the classical ones.
Delivery of the production of vertical farms is carried out at shorter distances, and therefore emissions from the machinery are excluded or significantly lower, and deliveries are made. It is estimated that in the classical agricultural model, food overcomes an average of 2000 km, while it gets on the table. In the case of vertical farms, this distance can be reduced to several kilometers or even hundreds or tens of meters. In addition, there are no emissions from the technique that serves the crops.
Another advantage – the plants are grown 365 days a year. And, since vertical farms are independent of weather conditions, there is no risk of crop loss due to drought, flooding, etc.
However, according to Puchko, vertical farms, of course, are our future.
“There is a possibility that while Ukraine decides to open the land market, the value of this land will not grow so dramatically precisely due to the development of urban farming. However, vertical farms cannot be contrasted with classical ones, only supplement them and partially reduce the burden on natural resources. Their key role is to provide vegetables, salads, and greens to large cities in an intelligent, efficient and environmentally friendly way”, he concluded.