Automation Technology Could Help Vertical Farms Achieve Profitability
However, the industry faces many challenges. Among these is a large amount of manual labor required; human intervention is required for many aspects of the farm, ranging from crop monitoring to system maintenance, and the labor requirements only increase with the sizes of the facilities. As many vertical farms are built-in environments not designed for growing crops, such as inside shipping containers, this can present operational challenges and require significant manpower. This results in higher running costs and thus contributes to the high prices commonly associated with vertically farmed produce.
IDTechEx has identified automation as a key technology area that could help vertical farms reduce these costs. By using extensive sensor networks for monitoring crops and growing systems, vertical farms can optimize their workflow by helping operators efficiently pinpoint problems. This would serve to reduce labor complexities and thus manpower required; additionally, this would also allow operators to direct their attention to tasks that would be difficult to automate, such as crop harvesting and maintenance operations.
Finally, the report includes 10-year market forecasts by business model and geography to understand the future of the vertical farming industry. Separate forecasts for vertically farmed produce within North America, Europe, Japan, China, and the rest of the world are provided, along with forecasts for container farms and other turnkey vertical farms.