(I-BusinessNews.Com, July 08, 2021 ) According to the new market research report ÂIndoor Farming Technology Market by Growing System (Hydroponics, Aeroponics, Aquaponics, Soil-based, Hybrid), Facility Type, Component, Crop Type (Fruits & Vegetables, Herbs & Microgreens, Flowers & Ornamentals), and Region Â Global Forecast to 2026″, published by MarketsandMarketsÂ, the market size is estimated to account for a value of USD 14.5 billion in 2020 and is projected to grow at a CAGR 9.4% from 2020, to reach a value of USD 24.8 billion by 2026. Factors such as the higher yield as compared to conventional agriculture practices, controlled environment farming, and improved yield and higher produce with limited land resources, are some of the key factors driving the growth of the indoor farming technology market during the forecast period.
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COVID-19 Impact on the Global Indoor Farming Technology Market
Amid the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals have developed a critical point of view towards outdoor food. With health and food safety becoming the key focus, the populations around the globe have showed an inclination towards home cooking and self-made/homemade meals. This has put the food and hotel industry into jeopardy. After the devastating outbreak of coronavirus pandemic, the adoption rate of urban indoor farming systems around the world are estimated to rise sharply. The agriculture industry faced challenges during the initial phases of the spread of the pandemic. There were huge labour shortages on the farm, some farmers missed their window of opportunity for harvesting for seasonal crops, the falling prices of agricultural products and the disruption of logistics. Many countries also realized their over dependence on imports of food materials and hence began emphasizing on internal and domestic productions.
Indoor Farming Technology Market Dynamics
Driver: Need for higher yields using limited space and water.
One of the main advantages of indoor farming is its higher yield compared to conventional farming methods. Enclosed facilities used in indoor farming create optimum growing conditions for farmers to grow a crop from seed to the harvesting stages in lesser time and obtain higher yields in each cycle with limited land area. According to USDA data, in 2016, the average yield of tomatoes grown in greenhouse hydroponics was 10.59 pounds per square foot, and that of traditionally grown tomatoes was 1.85 pounds per square foot. Therefore, indoor farms can increase the overall crop yield by stacking additional layers and increasing the growing area.
Indoor farming addresses the concern of limited space, as certain plants can be grown in smaller areas. For instance, in vertical farming, every facility developed reduces the need for utilizing land by a hundred-fold. The level of water wastage is less when compared to conventional farming. Indoor farms recirculate and reuse the water; an average of 95% less water is required to grow the same crops as compared to outdoor farming. When plants or crops are grown in vertical greenhouses, the transpiration process occurs, which makes it feasible for farmers to reuse the water for irrigation purposes. The chances of water wastage become minimal, and therefore, this method is helpful in resource conservation.
Restraint: High initial investments
The initial cost of the indoor farming setup is more compared to the investment required in traditional farming. One of the main factors responsible for the high investment is the cost of urban land, which is higher than that of farmland. Furthermore, energy accounts for a higher percentage of operating costs for both vertical farms and greenhouses. For instance, in vertical farming operations, lights run for 16 hours per day, while in greenhouses, light is applied to plants for 9 hours per day in winter.
Powering up a farmscraper for lights and controlling ambient temperatures involve high costs and are labor-intensive. Controlling the environment within buildings with regard to lighting, temperature, pollination, and the arrangement of plants is important for an ideal indoor farm. Farmers are required to make a high initial investment for the devices and equipment used for indoor farming. This is one of the major restraints for the indoor farming technology market.
Opportunity: Development of innovative and cost-effective technologies
Many technologies used in indoor farming do not have a long commercially proven record, and studies are still being conducted to ascertain the impact of these technologies on the shelf life of plants. Through research conducted at the Lighting Research Center (New York), the impact of LED lighting on plants was studied, and it showed positive results. However, the technology is in the introductory stage and requires improvements to become optimally beneficial and commercially viable.
New technologies need to be developed to decrease the carbon footprint in indoor farming. Growers are more interested in investing in technologies that would lower their costs invested in labor, as they are required on large-scale farms for monitoring, maintaining, supplying the nutrients, and harvesting. Hence, in the future, there is an opportunity to develop fully automated urban farms based on vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture.
Challenge: Lack of adequate funding
In many agriculture-related businesses, finding an investor is very difficult, and this might act as a challenge, thereby leading to fewer growers investing in indoor farming. Furthermore, limited funding slows down the pace of R&D for indoor farming in public institutions and universities, which, in turn, limits the availability of data and information, which would otherwise encourage cultivators to invest.
In the recent scenario, however, there are some sources of high funding available for players in the indoor farming technology market space. For instance, Aerofarms (US), one of the indoor farming players, raised USD 50 million from Goldman Sachs Group (US) and Prudential Financial, Inc. (US).
The increasing adoption of hydroponics and vertical farming systems in the Asia Pacific countries, drive the regions growth rate at a higher pace.
The Asia Pacific region is projected to grow at the highest rate, as the demand for indoor farming technology has been growing in this region due to the increasing investment of overseas business lines in agricultural operations to exclusively meet the demands of the crop growers to attain export-quality crops. In addition, the farming industry in the Asia Pacific region has been shifting toward technological and innovative methods from a conventional agricultural practice system. These shifts lead to the modernization of crop management techniques to gain better premium value for the crops. There are numerous indoor farms in China, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan, and other such technologically advanced countries. China is estimated to account for the largest share in the Asia Pacific indoor farming technology market due to the increasing investments from several multinational manufacturers in R&D and the adoption of greenhouse farming for the production of certain crops. The restraining factor in the Asia Pacific market is the high initial cost required to set up these systems.
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Key Market Players
Key players in this market include include major players such as Signify Holding (Netherlands), Everlight Electronics (China), Argus Control Systems (Canada), LumiGrow (US), Netafim (Israel), Logiqs (Netherlands), Illumitex (US), Hydrodynamics International (US), American Hydroponics (US), Richel Group (France), Vertical Farm Systems (Australia), General Hydroponics (US), Agrilution (Germany), Heliospectra AB (Sweden), Scotts Miracle Gro (US), Hydroponics System International (Spain), Advanced Nutrients (US), Emerald Harvest (US), VitaLink (UK), and Grobo (US). These major players in this market are focusing on increasing their presence through expansions & investments, mergers & acquisitions, partnerships, joint ventures, and agreements. These companies have a strong presence in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe. They also have manufacturing facilities along with strong distribution networks across these regions.
Mr. Aashish Mehra