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Vertical farms, the future of food supply in Latin America

Panama Spanish

The increase of the population and the deterioration of the areas of cultivation, will make controlled agriculture like vertical farms, a solution to provide food in the cities of Latin America, said Gary Stutte, expert in space crops of the Agency of Aeronautics and the US Space (NASA).

"In Latin America there are several of the largest cities in the world, water is scarce and land is less and less available for cultivation; so for these cities to have the capacity to produce more food and export, it will depend on the technology of the controlled environment agriculture, "he specified.

The main researcher of experiments in space flights at NASA, designed to grow microgravity plants for trips to Mars, explained by videoconference that the current food supply as the population grows is inadequate and unhealthy. Stutte said it is necessary for countries to implement new technologies, because controlled environmental agriculture techniques such as vertical farms, greenhouse production and interior agriculture are being developed worldwide, especially for urban areas. 

He compared that a production on vertical farms of 1,000 meters is equivalent to 60 hectares traditionally cultivated, or 5 hectares in greenhouses. In addition, he specified that the return on investment of the first is achieved in 36 months, while crops on land take time to recover in 7 years. In addition, he emphasizes that the benefits of new crops are reflected in the reduction of water by 85%, the use of small spaces, the harvest time reduced by 50%, the elimination of chemicals in plants, less labor and the non stop production throughout the year.