Vertical Farming-Opportunities and Challenges for Singapore There Research Proposal

Excerpt from Research Proposal :

Vertical Farming-Opportunities and Challenges for Singapore

There has been much talk surrounding the environmental issues of food production, with many now suggesting the city is the ideal place for growing food to cater for rapidly expanding urban populations. In Singapore, small-scale examples of this are emerging, such as Changi General Hospital and the Tanjong Pagar apartment complex. This dissertation will examine the Vertical Farming movement, and look at the opportunities and challenges for implementing such strategies in Singapore. The research would include sustainable building designs related to architecture and minimal agriculture. The research would consider the application of interviews and case studies in order to come up with reliable and valid results in relation to the research question.

Vertical Farming-Opportunities and Challenges for Singapore


According to the research trends on the human population, in the near future approximately over 80% of the world's population would move to urban areas in order to seek employment opportunities. This would mean the large population of the human race would reside in the urban centers in search of livelihood. Human beings have the trend of increasing their population at an alarming rate. The rate of the world's population growth is unusually high thus stressing the scarce resources that are available for human development. Scientific researches project that, by 2050, the world's population would have increased by approximately 3 billion individuals. This illustrates that the world would require extra resources to facilitate existence and development of the growth of human population. There would be a need for extra piece of land to provide food for the overwhelming population in the future (Kvaloy & Tveteras 2008, p. 296-311).

The current world's population exerts much pressure on the available piece of land. This is because of the need for the piece of land to put buildings and other relevant structures for human security and development. It is crucial to ensure the food security of the human race to maintain the balance within the natural settings. Current, traditional farming practices require more pieces of land in order to execute effectively. According to researches by FAO and NASA, over three quarters of the world's piece of land that can promote agriculture is in use. This indicates that, with the increase in population at an alarming rate, it would be dangerous to rely on the available piece of land and traditional farming practices. Singapore being part of the world is not safe from the looming danger because of the world's population growth rate. Singapore needs to adopt vital and reliable farming practices to help facilitate the development of the future generation. This calls for the need to adopt new farming practices that would operate on the available resources in the planet. This research would examine the need to adopt vertical farming in Singapore in order to maximize the production of scarce resources. The research would conduct case studies; administer questionnaires and interviews to relevant sources to understand the opportunities and challenges of applying vertical farming in Singapore (Ehrenberg 2008, p. 16).

Singapore tries to develop vertical farming system prototype that could enable the land-scarce country maximize the production of leafy vegetables. Vertical farming is the application of technique that enables the production agricultural output at multiple levels while preserving the available land space. This would include erecting a six-meter tall structure capable of rotating at one millimeter per second with the aim of distributing sunlight to all the plants. A water resource powers the system, which is constantly under recycling, thus minimizing the energy consumption of the Republic of Singapore. This new technological development in farming is affordable thus allows the country to limit its expenditure in agricultural practices. The vertical system is significant to the current and future world's population in many measures thus it is crucial to determine the opportunities and challenges that might arise with the adoption of the new mode of farming (Wagner 2010, p.68-69).

Vertical farming would enable the current and future world's population to curb the overwhelming pressure on the land. Since most individuals are moving to the urban areas to look for employment opportunities, there would be minimal land resources to further their development. The available pieces of land in the rural areas that serve as the main channels of food products to the urban areas undergo exploitation because of the growing population. There would be less land to support the growing rate of the world's population. It is crucial to ensure the food security of the human race in order to further development of humanity. It is necessary for the country to adopt the new technological development in farming (vertical farming) to help solve the current pressure on the scarce piece of land. Vertical farming would provide the opportunity to the country to exploit the available space through the atmosphere. Large production system of the leafy vegetables and other horticultural products would maximize the agricultural production to help develop urban areas in relation to food security. Vertical farming is also affordable farming practice thus would allow the country to divert some resources that would have been used in agriculture to other areas of development. It is essential to adopt cheaper farming practices to curb the existence of scarce resources and overwhelming world's population growth rate (Fischetti 2008, p. 74).

Vertical farming is also more productive than the traditional farming practices because there is minimal weather-related crop failure. The weather-related crop failure might arise because of droughts, floods, and invasion by pests. These calamities are minimal in the adoption of vertical farming. This reflects one of the important opportunities in the application of vertical farming in the country of Singapore. Vertical farming also helps in the conservation of land structure through reduction in the use fossil fuel. Vertical farming is also cheap because there is minimal use of herbicides or pesticides to eliminate the invasion by pests. This is because the new technological farming method (vertical farming) is mainly organic. Through recycling of the water system, vertical farming eliminates the agricultural runoff within the farming practice. One of the challenges of vertical farming is the inclusion of constraints on how to fix the structure between the buildings in the urban setting. It is easier when practiced in the rural scenario where there is no limitation of the size of land crucial for erection of the structure. It is also difficult to get water to operate the system of vertical farming. There are difficulties when it comes to creativity of the structures within the urban settings. The other challenge is the presence of shadow effect thus limiting the development of the plants within the structure (Ehrenberg 2008, p. 16).

Background/Literature Review

Food production in Singapore has faced many environmental and demographic constraints. The population is rapidly increasing, and the food that is currently under production may not in a few years be sufficient to feed the expanding population (Waller 2001, P. 14). Given that Singapore is a relatively small nation, a large portion of land that could have been used for farming activities is occupied by the large commercial and residential structures developed for the settlement of people (Hopkins & Goodwin 2011, P. 44). This encroachment is steadily making it more difficult for the nation to produce its own food, and the result is Singapore's current heavy dependence on imported food. Vertical farming has, therefore, come up as a long-term solution to this problem (Miller & Spoolman 2012, P. 310). This, as with any other concept, comes with its own pros and cons.

Singapore sits on a relatively small area of land, making horizontal farming difficult. Vertical farming comes as a viable solution to this (Hopkins & Goodwin 2011, P. 228). For example, food that could have been produced from 10000m2 could well fit in a vertical ten-level structure whose floor area is 1000m2. Prototypes are already under testing as we speak and, with every part of the building being exposed to sufficient sunlight for the necessary period, the crops, which are mainly vegetables, thrive remarkably well in a controlled environment. The result is an even higher quantity of food being produced than would have been produced on the natural land (Venter 2010, P. 105). This shows that Singapore is moving towards the right direction in its bid to achieve self-sufficiency in food production, and an example to the rest of the world to follow suit.

The adoption of vertical farming in Singapore could also be an opportunity when it comes to improvement in the utility of the little land available (Miller & Spoolman 2012, P. 310). While the crops can be cultivated on the vertical structures, the land that could have otherwise been used for cultivation could be used for other lucrative purposes such as construction of key industries or development of infrastructure. Such investment and planning could aid in the acquisition of the funds that will be used in further movement towards the vertical farming techniques.

Vertical farming is also safer than the conventional farming in many ways. They considerably reduce…

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