Technology is constantly improving – especially when it comes to agriculture. Many innovations enhance the quantity and quality of food production, increase efficiency and reduce the need for manual labour, and Controlled Environment Agriculture is one of these.
Controlled Environment Agriculture is also known as and referred to as CEA. It combines engineering, plant science, and computer-managed greenhouse control tech.
What benefits does CEA bring?
CEA allows us to manipulate the environment to a plant’s needs and conditions to thrive. It also enables us to control the water quality, nutrient concentration and pH, the production rate, cultivar (selective breeding of quality seeds), and pest control.
The plants are produced underneath LED growing lights with hydroponics or aquaponics systems providing the needed water and nutrients. This method of crop growth also relies on heaters, ventilators, dehumidifiers, CO2 enrichment, humidifiers, and coolers to allow for optimal plant growing systems with plant quality and production efficiency.
CEA can allow farmers to grow seasonally specific produce all year round and prevent damage to crops from extreme weather, pests, and diseases.
CEA uses less water, land, fertiliser and pesticides than traditional growing methods and is believed to be a more sustainable method of crop production.
As a result, CEA increases yield while reducing costs.
What is the environmental impact of traditional crop production?
In conventional agriculture, arable and fertile land is rapidly lost yearly.
Over 4-5 million hectares are lost due to erosion/degradation of soil and conversion of land into housing, highways, factories, residential areas etc.
The United Nations predicts that the world population will grow to about 8.5 billion in 2030. It is becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy the rising global demand for food security.
With the growing population, demand for food and loss of arable land, CEA offers a solution to all of these and allows those in more urban areas access to fresher and locally grown produce.
How is CEA being used today?
Current examples of CEA being used today are indoor and vertical farming. We have a blog about vertical farming and what you need to know to learn more about it.
Dubai currently has a very successful and of the most giant vertical farms in the world, with over 330,000 square feet. Producing over 2 million pounds of leafy greens annually that do not need washing as they are grown without pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals
Although Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) is a costly investment, the benefits can help advance several sustainable food development goals in the long run. We believe vertical farming and CEA is a successful way to meet rising customer demands. Our Gelponics products are an excellent way to help more people achieve this goal.