Indoor agriculture is not just technology - Agronomy remains essential

There is some overconfidence with the promises and perspectives of actual indoor agriculture. Enthusiasts believe that the technology will solve everything and that it will easily be possible to grow anything with LEDs and air conditioning. I've heard people say that the success of a vertical farm or a plant factory depends only on the degree of automation, the type of LED, the dehumidifier, the cultivation tray. Of course, technology is a very important component and a differential in this type of farming. In fact, I recognize that only recent technological advances in sensing, environmental control, automation, and artificial lighting have made this flourishing of controlled environment agriculture possible. But using an analogy with computers, this technology corresponds only to hardware. Few people have talked about the software, about the information that will make the thing run. That software is the production systems, the agronomic knowledge. 

I appreciate that there are really many advances in technologies being used, but plants will always be plants and issues related to crop production, regardless of whether in open field on a vertical farm, remain agronomic issues. There are ways to produce, to manage the plants so that they extract the most from the environment and translate this into production. These forms of production, equivalent to an algorithm or software, are called production systems. A large part of Embrapa's research results, for example, are production systems. Just like the operating systems that make our computers work, the production systems that make agricultural production work go unnoticed. 


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