Concerns about the Future of Food and the rise of Vertical Farming

Published on 1 February 2023 at 15:00

Global Population Boom Sparks Concerns over Food Security and the Rise of Vertical Farming

In a projection that has captured worldwide attention, experts predict that by 2050, the global population will soar to a staggering 9.8 billion people. This unprecedented growth has raised alarms as the amount of agricultural land has remained relatively constant over the past five decades, comprising approximately 37% of the total available land. With no significant changes anticipated in the near future, governments are increasingly prioritizing food security to address this pressing issue.


Back in 2013, when the projected population for 2050 was estimated at 9.6 billion, a United Nations report warned that global food production would need to increase by around 70% to keep pace with population growth. Compounding the challenge is the fact that as economies develop, global diets are shifting towards a greater demand for meat, which is even more land-intensive.

In response to this daunting predicament, the farming community has embraced innovative solutions and advanced agronomic practices to enhance productivity per hectare, a process known as "intensification." While this approach has yielded positive results, its long-term sustainability is questionable. Moreover, today's consumers are increasingly aware of the health risks associated with pesticide use and the environmental impact of plastic packaging, food transportation emissions, and overexploitation of Earth's resources, including farmland.


Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the commercial farming industry is far from complacent. Stakeholders acknowledge that the future of food production will undergo a radical transformation. A new era of technology-enabled agriculture is emerging, with indoor vertical farming, also known as Controlled Environment Production (CEP), touted as one of the most promising solutions to boost crop yields while ensuring optimal quality, nutrition, and visual appeal. The adoption of CEP holds the potential to not only sustain but also improve living standards for people worldwide.


Another significant opportunity lies within the pharmaceutical industry, where vertical farms provide controlled, cleanroom environments ideal for cultivating potent, natural pharmaceutical ingredients that remain largely untapped.


However, despite the considerable prospects, the indoor vertical farming industry is still in its early stages. Many ventures fail due to inadequate planning, a lack of understanding of the complexities involved in controlled environment growing, or an inability to scale operations to achieve long-term commercial viability.

As the global population continues to climb and concerns over food security escalate, the rise of vertical farming offers a glimmer of hope. While challenges persist, concerted efforts are underway to revolutionize agricultural practices and ensure a sustainable and prosperous future for all.

Agricultural land (% of land area) | Data (


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