When Hurricane ‘Fiona’ swept Puerto Rico last September 2022, the United States commonwealth, with around 3.1 million people importing more than 85% of all its food, once again, has been pushed to the edge of food insecurity.
According to the report from Puerto Rico’s Department of Agriculture, the hurricane left around $100 million in crop damage. However, given the territory’s location in the Caribbean, Fiona was not the first and is definitely not the last storm to impact Puerto Rico.
Francisco Santana, the founder of an indoor vertical farming company Grupo Vesan, is one of the proponents of the farming method in Puerto Rico. He and his group established an 8,000-square-foot hydroponic warehouse where they germinate and nurture a variety of crops. Their delicate lettuce crops survived the onslaught of Hurricane Fiona, and they were the only ones on the hard-hit southern coast of Puerto Rico to ship produce, according to Santana.
On an island getting a lot of sunshine and rain, indoor hydroponic farms remain an oddity. Many people still prefer traditional outdoor farming because of the energy, nutrient, and water cost needed to have a controlled environment indoors. However, the increasing number of extreme weather events is pushing more farmers to consider indoor farming as an option to move forward.
Read the complete article at www.mb.com.ph.