Projections suggest that India will become the most populous country before 2025. This puts into question the country's food production capabilities. The Global Food Security Index (GFSI), which benchmarks 58 unique indicators measuring the drivers of food affordability, availability, quality, and safety for 113 developing and developed countries, ranked India at the 71st position in 2021. This indicates what a pressing challenge food production is – and this is likely to increase with the growing population.
Macro trends across markets indicate a consumer preference for fresh and natural products that are healthy and locally sourced. Vertical farms have been proposed as an alternative to pesticide- and fertilizer-dependent farming, and technological advances have decreased the cost of production and made the concept commercially feasible. It's estimated that there are already more than 2,000 vertical farms in the US. These farms can occupy spaces such as buildings or shipping containers, where they produce greater yields than traditional outdoor farming and use 70 to 95% less water. A study conducted by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) found that water and fertilizer savings of around 25% and 30%, respectively, were reported for various fruit crops in Delhi region through the drip fertigation system.
In India, Future Farms has successfully developed vertical farms, and Barton Breeze operates smart farms by collecting hundreds of data points at each of its units to project harvest data and calculate sales. Farm-in-Box has developed innovative packages for 15-day-old live micro-crops with roots clumped in a box that can be freshly harvested at any time. Several such farms are emerging near cities and are slowly serving the needs of urban dwellers. Hydroponically-grown vegetables can be spotted in major grocery stores and on popular e-grocery platforms.
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