What do vertical and precision farming mean for investors?

No matter how much eating habits change in the future, food will still have to be grown differently. It will have to be produced in larger quantities and contain more nutritional value while reducing the input factors needed. One of the recent innovations that can help in trying to resolve this seemingly impossible mission are precision and vertical farming, write Carsten Menke and Nicholas Jordan, with Next Generation Research in the Herald Scotland. 

"At the heart of precision farming lies the idea of combining information technology and hardware to improve a farmer’s decision-making by using digital techniques to monitor and optimize production processes. It will be able to reduce resource intensity significantly, making agriculture more efficient and soils more productive. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The innovations and improvements described are mostly driven by trends in the developed world, while the highest prevalence of undernourishment occurs in developing low-income countries.

"We, therefore, believe that there is a discrepancy between what is perceived to be important in feeding the world and what actually is. Weak institutions, conflicts, and corruption, a lack of infrastructure, as well as limited access to water are still prevailing and prevent affordable access to food.

"From an investors’ point of view, we believe that segments such as AgTech and FoodTech will remain niches, for now, often dominated by smaller and start-up-style companies that have not yet reached profitability. Often, they are entering into competition with much bigger and much more established food companies which have much more financial firepower. Due to the niche nature of the segment and the fast-paced environment, investment opportunities may not only arise in public markets but private markets as well," they conclude.

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