The world population is exploding. According to the World Resource Institute, the global population will hit 10 billion by 2050. In turn, we will be faced with the challenge of feeding that many mouths. In an era where climate change is causing intense droughts, depending solely on traditional farming techniques to produce food in adequate quantities will make that challenge increasingly difficult. Weather dependent farming will not prove sufficient in fulfilling the planet’s demand for food in the coming years. However, innovative startups are coming up with radical new ways to farm 365 days a year with consistent quality.
More Challenges from Mother Nature
We are running out of usable water. Throughout the last decade and a half, droughts have been quite severe in many parts of the world. They have occurred far too often for us to ignore the long-term implications that climate change has had on our blue planet.
The Change in Global Temperature Over the Years
The State of California experienced its driest period in record history between 2011 and 2015, and such occurrences have become commonplace throughout the world in recent times. The far-reaching impact of these droughts will be profound on the growth of crops that will be needed to feed the global population in the coming years. At the same time, we are running out of fertile land due depletion caused by the lack of rainfall. To make matters worse, to accommodate the growing population, more and more agricultural lands are being turned into human habitats.
The Global Agricultural Productivity (GAP) Index
Technology to the Rescue
Company Feature – Iron Ox
Source: LinkedIn | Iron Ox
Sustainable farming methods are gaining traction as they aim to overcome the challenges faced by traditional industrial farming. Startups like Iron Ox are leading the charge in this new direction with automation and hydroponics. Their revolutionary indoor farms use 90% less water compared to traditional farming. The plants live in hydroponic solutions that are rich in nutrients, allowing them to be grown more sustainably with consistent results. The indoor production farm is capable of growing crops year-round as harmful environmental factors such as bad weather, insects and pests have no impact on them. The enclosed system is capable of compensating for the temperature changes caused by seasonal change. LED lighting is used to reduce the energy usage and help them grow a variety of plants, while robotic arms and automated movers are used to delicately handle and move the plants across the building from one place to the other. Hundreds of sensors monitor the environment to maintain optimal growing conditions throughout the year. Data is collected on the health and growth of each plant, while the pH values and nutrient levels of the hydroponic solutions are constantly monitored to maintain the farm’s overall health and efficiency.
This approach to consistently delivering quality produce has enabled Iron Ox to grow 30 times more produce per acre than traditional farms. Another key advantage to distributed indoor farming is the ability to grow near the consumers, minimizing distribution and transportation costs while reducing wastage. The entire system has been designed from ground up to save money, ensure constant quality and fresh produce throughout the year.
It seems as if we have taken the right approach towards feeding 10 billion mouths. Coming up with innovative farming techniques that maximizes efficiency, eliminating wastes and maintaining a constant stream of produce, all fall in line towards achieving that goal.
The Tech Behind the Strategy
At Texus, while endorsing some of the most promising technological trends, we are already empowering many of our clients to overcome their food supply chain and yield management challenges. From growing crops with the use of Ultraviolet, Infrared and Ultrasound, to disrupting the food supply chain by creating value added demand to enable overnight growth through innovation in food prep and delivery, we pride ourselves in being a force that propels FoodTech towards meeting the planet’s demand for food.