Nowadays, food shortage and poverty may be an only African matter, but the world’s population will likely reach nine billion by 2050. Scientists warn that this would result in a global food shortage. The Africa’s fertile farmland could not only feed its own growing populace, it could also feed the whole world.
Agriculture is the source of living for many Africans and contributes on average 15% of Africa’s total gross domestic product. It is regarded as the sector that offers the greatest potential for eradicating poverty and food shortages in their African communities.
The proportion of the poor in cities is also growing, and African governments are struggling to keep up with rising demands for improved water, sanitation, housing, transport, jobs and food. Urban farmers are stepping in to provide food for Africa’s ballooning cities, but vertical farming is yet to take hold. African cites should consider the value of vertical farming. Conventional agriculture has driven many energetic, creative and tech-savvy young people away from the rural areas.
Vertical farming is an innovative methodology for the vertical cultivation of agricultural products, which could also realise a true “zero-mile” food supply for cities. This technique is ideal for meeting the challenges of urbanisation and the rising demand by consumers for high-quality, pesticide-free food. Increasingly, urban farmers are stepping in to fill the gap. They grow foods close to the big city markets with whatever natural resources are available. Unfortunately, their options are limited, especially when it comes to accessing clean water.
Understanding the concept
Vertical farms use high tech lighting and climate controlled buildings to grow crops like leafy greens or herbs indoors while using less water and soil. Because it’s a closed growing system, with controlled evaporation from plants, this farm uses 95% less water than traditional farms. At the same time, most vertical farms don’t need soil because they use Aeroponics or hydroponic systems these dispense nutrients needed for plants to grow via mist or water.
A traditional approach to this challenge is greenhouse farming, in which glass domes heighten and retain solar energy within a growing environment that’s closed off from the surrounding atmosphere. As a result, the temperature inside the dome is warmer and more stable, allowing farmers to cultivate warm-weather crops during the cold seasons.
Turning African cities into agricultural hubs
Many African city houses like Abuja remain half or totally unoccupied, despite improvements in the real estate sector on the continent. But African cities can be turned into agricultural hubs by embracing vertical farming methods. Vertical farms could be built in new or existing buildings and provided significant benefits with regard to environmental sustainability and human health, and would minimise the need for water and other nutrients, while also reducing the need for pesticide and fungicide application.
While the problems are enormous, cities can also offer unique opportunities to reduce poverty, deliver prosperity and economic development and tackle other issues that affect agriculture, including climate change.