Grain crops will always need large fields. But tomatoes, leafy greens, peppers, and strawberries are some of the many fruits and veggies that thrive indoors under precisely controlled conditions.
Though it costs more to raise produce in greenhouses or urban “farm factories,” the payoff is higher yield, quality and market value. The plants can grow year-round with less fertilizer and pesticide.
As more agriculture moves indoors, Israeli technologies are moving in with them to optimize lighting, watering, temperature and other factors for an efficient and effective operation.
“There is a growing trend for traditional greenhouse farming and indoor hydroponic and vertical farming for certain types of crops,” says Sarai Kemp, vice president of deal flow at Trendlines AgriFood based in Israel with branches in China and Singapore.
Kemp tells ISRAEL21c that most greenhouse-grown tomatoes go straight to consumers while most field-grown tomatoes go into items like ketchup.
“Growing indoors helps you produce more in a better environment than in open fields,” she says. “Farmers invest in technology for greenhouses because they can control the growing environment and sell the produce at a higher value.”
Kemp says a lot of indoor farming technology originated in Israel. “We have the experience, capability and technology to provide monitoring solutions.”
Europe is the main market for Israeli indoor farming technology, and Kemp notes that a new market has opened closer to home.
“The United Arab Emirates is very interested in indoor farming because of the desert conditions that make it difficult to grow in open fields there.”
Let’s look at a few Israeli solutions for indoor farming.