As we enter a new year full of uncertainty given the state of the economy as a whole, here are certain trends identified in 2022 that are likely to further grow during 2023. Indeed, new emerging crops and new markets are opening for the indoor farming sector even if certain steps and milestones will need to be achieved in order to enable indoor farming companies to capture the following market opportunities.
Indoor Farm Trend: Emerging Crops
Hydroponic fodder has the potential to provide a consistent, high-quality supply of feed for livestock, even in areas with poor soil quality or limited land. The plants are able to grow more quickly and with less input (water, nutrients, and space) This means that farmers can produce more feed in less time and with fewer resources. Some studies have found that it may not provide the same level of nutrition as traditional feed and is more expensive to produce. Mushrooms have also been recognized as a top food trend by industry experts. One such company, MycoTechnology, secured a funding round of $85 million to scale its operations. A number of “new” crops are beginning to emerge as viable options for indoor farming. These include tree sprouts, saffron, algae, and potato farming. The growing demand for fruit trees has led to a number of companies trialing indoor growing methods. LettUs Grow has partnered with Bardsley England to trial apple tree whip propagation using aeroponics.
Conifers, which have been severely impacted by recent heatwaves and wildfires, are also being grown in indoor facilities. Veggitech, the largest saffron indoor farming facility, has developed a method for growing the highly valued spice using a combination of artificial intelligence and hydroponics. The controlled environment of an indoor facility allows for the precise control of growing conditions, leading to higher yields and improved crop quality. VAXA Technologies has developed a system for growing microalgae in vertical farms. Other companies such as Back of the Yards algae sciences leverage the power of algae as well in order to produce a range of food colorants, flavors, mycelia protein powders, and other bio-stimulants.
Indoor Farm Trend: Emerging Markets
Vertical farming in the Middle East has experienced significant growth in recent months. The region, particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has attracted investments from around the world and initiated numerous projects. The Saudi Arabian government has also initiated mega-projects, including the development of vertical farming, as part of its Vision 2030 plan. Asian countries are increasingly turning to vertical farming to address challenges such as an aging population, fewer farmers, and the effects of climate change. In South Korea, PlanTFarm recently agreed to a joint venture with Premium Group of Mongolia to set up the country’s first indoor vertical farm.
Eastern Europe, Latin America, Africa and Central Asia are also seeing activity in the sector. According to Statista, the vertical farming market in Latin America is estimated to reach USD 1.93Bn with a compound annual growth rate of 21% during the period. Some companies such as AgroUrbana or, Pink Farms are bringing vertical farming solutions to the continent. The urbanization of the population, decreasing farmland, exponential population, impact of climate change and the need to ensure a food-secure future, among other points, leads the market to expand rapidly.
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