Food security in Singapore is a perennial issue. With less than one per cent of our land mass dedicated to agriculture – and not much more to spare – the only way to go is upwards, both in terms of efficiency, and building vertically. So, in 2019, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) announced its ambitious “30 by 30” plan that would have 30 per cent of the nation’s nutritional needs be met domestically by 2030.
One organisation tackling the challenge is &ever, a German vertical farming company that has been awarded an SFA grant to build its modular, 15m-high system that will produce 500,000kg of leafy greens annually. Technology is at the heart of &ever’s productivity. Crops are grown with its Dryponics method, which uses 90 percent less water, 60 per cent less fertiliser and no pesticides. With this system, plants can be harvested with their roots intact, keeping them alive until they reach the consumer, resulting in better-tasting and more nutritious vegetables.
Meanwhile, the entire farm is fully automated. Digital controls manage everything from seeding to harvesting and Internet of Things sensors monitor carbon dioxide levels, temperature and airflow to ensure optimal growth. This is a system that also keeps improving. The &ever farm in Kuwait, built in August this year, has already offered several possible improvements – from better intra-logistics solutions to using a next-generation climate-control technology to improve harvest yields.
Dr Henner Schwarz, CEO of &ever, says, “We are excited to continue our global roll-out and bring better tasting, highly nutritious salad to the people of Singapore.” Mark Korzilius, founder of &ever adds, “At the same time, we are making a strong contribution to one of the world’s most exciting ecosystems for indoor vertical farming.”