Controlled Environment Agriculture: A sustainable solution to locally grown organic produce.

Kumar Nikkhil Raj Agrawal   |   December 28, 2020

Ever wonder, what are some of the challenges the world is facing right now in terms of food supply and nutrition? Or will it be able to cater to the increasing demand for food by 2050?

The global population is expected to rise dramatically in the coming decades, an estimated 7.7 Billion people live around the world currently, and this number according to the United Nations is projected to reach 9.7 Billion in the next 30 years [1], an approximate 25% increase in population. The food supply chain needs to go through some major changes and adaptation to be able to successfully supply optimum food and nutrition to the growing demand. With this growing demand for food is important, people are also tending more towards fresh and organic produce, all because of the heavy use of pesticides and chemicals in this industry to increase the yield and maximize profits. While organic produce should be the basic necessity affordable to everyone, it has turned out into a range of premium products for which the buyer has to pay a higher cost to consume better quality produce. The major chunk of the global population is not able to afford this higher price for better quality produce. The use of chemicals, pesticides, or non-food grade materials harm the consumers’ digestive system and imposes a long-lasting threat to humanity, recently a disturbing article has stated that microplastics were found in the placenta of an unborn baby [2], further research concluded that this could have some permanent ailments to the body of the newborn, using PVC plumbing (Not applicable for food operations) for irrigation can be one of the reasons for this finding. Now is the time to act upon and bring in some changes to the food industry in order to cater to the increasing demand. With only a 5-10% increase in arable land by 2050, almost 60-70% more food production is required to sustain the demand and feed every human being on the planet. The solution to all these problems is Controlled Environment Agriculture, often termed as CEA, Indoor Farming, or Vertical Farming.

Controlled Environment Agriculture has been gaining popularity for the past 5-10 years, it is one of the most promising industries to tackle the many problems humanity is facing, and many more that are upcoming. The global CEA market is projected to be a $142.6 Billion industry by 2024 with a CAGR of 19.9% [3]. The majority of the market in the US is taken up by big players (almost 80%) because they are able to sustain the operation by mass production and higher profits. The key to making this industry successful is by making this tool accessible for everyone with a farm of any size so that it can be accepted by the majority of farmers, this is only possible by advancing technology in the right direction for anyone with the least experience being able to grow produce indoors.

The primary benefit of CEA lies in its independent nature, it can be used to grow produce in any demographic, irrespective of the climatic conditions. Locally grown produce is gaining acceptance amongst buyers because of minimum transit times, higher shelf life, and pesticide-free produce. While local growers are not very common because of the many factors that need to be taken into consideration, CEA can be used as an idea to set up local farms to cater to the needs of a specific region, this is how we all together can solve the problem of food and accessible nutrition to the global population. Many small businesses are upcoming with the same vision, but due to high capital cost, and experienced maintenance required for the farm, many operations turn themselves into cash-burning businesses and eventually give up. While the technology for indoor farming has been advancing for the past 10-15 years, the industry is still using many outdated technologies that don’t give enough information for the growers to optimally produce crops and maintain higher profits. All the ag-tech innovators have to come together to bring in a change in the technology that can make CEA a better and profitable business opportunity for inexperienced growers world-wide.

At Envonics, we are taking part in this Food-Ag revolution to bring in a change, our mission is to facilitate global food production by the means of Controlled Environment Agriculture. We strongly believe that locally grown produce can be accessible to everyone in the near future, providing higher quality produce that is free from any pesticides and insecticides. Our vision is to see locally grown fresh produce being accessible to each and every demographic globally. We support locally grown produce. We request everyone to support local businesses, help them sustain their operations for fresh and pesticide-free produce.

Eat Fresh, Live Healthy, Live Longer

-Kumar Nikkhil Raj

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions, we can be reached at info@envonics.com. Always happy to connect with like-minded individuals and learn from their experiences. Follow us on our Social Media platforms @envonics for growing tips and to learn about our journey and operations. If you have any comments on the article, you can reach out to me personally at kumar@envonics.com

References:

[1]: https://www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/population/

[2]:https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/22/microplastics-revealed-in-placentas-unborn-babies

[3]: https://www.fastmr.com/report/2/controlled-environment-agriculture-market