Matt Keltie business, 26 Seasons, first farmed microgreens in vertical farms in a former Wellington nightclub but has recently expanded his operation to Auckland.
But Keltie said it was not just about stacking plants on top of each other but rather using technology to farm smarter. According to data from indoor farm provider Plantlab, a vertical lettuce farm operating at full capacity achieved a yield of 80kg to 120kg crop yield per square meter, while a traditional farm achieved a yield of 3kg to 9kg per square meter.
Dr. Clive Cornford, former associate dean of primary industries at Manukau Institute of Technology and now an independent consultant for the horticulture industry said; “This is a way of expanding our horticultural activity, rather than replacing it.
Cornford pointed to major food production in Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, China, Europe and the USA all utilizing vertical farming technology to prove it is a major presence on the global stage. “While we don’t have the same pressures of adverse climate, or cities of 5 million-plus in New Zealand, that shouldn’t stop us from actively exploring and investing into vertical farming,” Cornford said.
Kylie Horomia is the head of industry transformation at WayBeyond, a company that builds AI technology for the global agriculture industry. Horomia said the biggest export offering in the sector was the digital technology used to run the systems.
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