Vertical farms might be the solution if you’re looking for creative and environmentally friendly ways to grow and harvest food. Crops that are grown vertically and stacked on top of one another are referred to as “vertical farming”. For a number of reasons, vertical farming South Africa is becoming more and more popular.
Vertical farming in South Africa has shown potential and growth. The technique includes growing produce in vertical stacks. It has many benefits, such as contributing to sustainability and food security. South Africa also has good farming conditions to accommodate vertical farming.
While South Africa has some of the best land and weather to grow and produce healthy crops, vertical farming is still making a big uproar. Let’s find out why.
What Is Vertical Farming South Africa?
Vertical farming is an exciting method of farming that uses vertical stacking of produce compared to traditional crop farming. According to South African Farmer’s Weekly, this way of farming uses water and fertilizer more efficiently and leaves less of an environmental footprint.
A vertical farmer at one of the rooftop farms in Johannesburg, Sibongile Cele, states that vertical farming is an invaluable way to produce a large amount of food without a significant loss. It could also begin to contribute to solving the problem of food shortages.
Completely different from regular farming, vertical farming is soilless, and the roots of the plants directly absorb nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus to grow. It is based on hydroponics, and no soil or natural light is used in the controlled farming environment.
As artificial lighting is used to grow the plants, much energy is required. This may be one of the disadvantages of the South African vertical farming community, as the economy will struggle to maintain energy expenditure.
Vertical Farming South Africa – Conditions
For many years, South Africa has suffered from drought conditions. This makes vertical farming a prime use-case scenario, as using minimal water is a huge advantage.
The primary method of vertical farming permits farming practice to expand to cities and smaller urban spaces, says the owner of the rooftop farm in Johannesburg, Khaya Maloney. This is especially important for a country such as South Africa, where cities are growing rapidly.
An additional technique that South African vertical farming has included is controlled-environment agriculture. This allows all environmental factors such as water, light, and food to be rigidly controlled for the most optimal results.
The specific conditions you need to satisfy if you want to try vertical farming include controlling temperature, humidity, artificial lighting, nutrients, and fertilizer. Vertical farming is quite a versatile technique, and there are different systems based on your area, preference, and capital for start-up.
Existing Vertical Farming Companies In South Africa
According to a review done in 2021, the most well-known vertical farming companies in South Africa are:
- Kobus Vertical Farming
- Future Farms of South Africa
- Smart Farming Technologies CC
- Urbanization Cultivation International. H
Other organizations and companies in countries such as the United States, Canada, and China also help with the growth of vertical farms in South Africa. VEK Adviesgroep and Codema Systems Group B.V. are two companies from the Netherlands that serve the vertical farming scene in South Africa.
South Africa’s Market Size For Vertical Farming
According to Market Data Forecast, in Africa and the Middle East, the estimated worth of the vertical farming market was 0.57 billion dollars in 2021. In the next five years, up until 2026, the market size worth is predicted to grow up to 1.86 billion dollars.
The main force behind the market size for vertical farms appears to be an increasing demand for organic foods and pesticide-free food. There is quite a large consumer demand for these factors, especially in the urban and middle to higher socio-economic classes.
South African Vertical Farming Education And Research Units
The African Association for Vertical Farming (AAVF), one of the non-profit groups in South Africa dedicated to vertical farming, recently held a conference. This conference, which covered a wide range of subjects from food security to sustainability, was held at the University of Johannesburg’s Soweto campus, according to Horti-daily.
The primary objective of AAVF continues to be to enhance the vertical farming industry as a whole and to support individual farmers. Various speakers presented research on these various topics.
A research article by Elizelle Cilliers and colleagues on the potential of urban agriculture in South Africa highlights the importance of increasing awareness of vertical farming and related topics in the community and governmental sector.
The industry’s limitations and the areas in which improvements can be made are further brought to light by ongoing research and instruction in farming techniques. For example, systematic policies and planning are still not at their best for long-term success in vertical farming and urban agriculture.
Future Projects for Vertical Farming South Africa
Vertical farming techniques have a lot of potential in South Africa. Vertical farms, according to Richard Lomax from FutureAgri in South Africa, require more research on the genetics of the various plants.
The future of this type of farming in South Africa can greatly help provide food to those communities that cannot farm or do not have access to food from traditional farming methods. These include people in remote areas or places with conditions unfavorable to farming.
The ideal solution of installing vertical farms is not without difficulties. Due to its high cost, South Africa is currently unable to continue using vertical farming as its main method of food production. Companies like FutureAgri are actively working to increase the accessibility and affordability of vertical farming.
To learn more about vertical farming in Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, watch this video from Africa Agri Tech.
The future of vertical farming in South Africa also doesn’t necessarily see traditional farming completely cut out of the picture. Typical farming methods still have their place in the agricultural world, especially in South Africa, where farms are a huge part of society.
A more sustainable method of growing and harvesting food has been vertical farming. Due to the rising demand for organic food, the market has grown over time. More study and instruction, both at the organizational and individual levels, are necessary for the sustainable development of vertical farming in South Africa.