Amid the continuing new realities of COVID-19, around the world different regions are facing varying agriculture issues from travel, work, and shipping restrictions. These constraints have placed a halt on many industries that help support the maintenance of crops, food distribution, and storage capacity.
One aspect of the agriculture industry that is being affected includes the production and distribution of approved pesticides. And the timing could not be worse for some areas. Places like East Africa are experiencing some of the worst locust seasons to date with crop destruction at an all-time high. Thanks to changes in climate, conditions for locust have been most favorable and many believe the situation is to continue through July coinciding with the harvest season. With dwindling resources to combat these pests and preserve crops, food security is a concern for many who need it most as the locusts consume and destroy crops.
Other farms around the world, including the US, are having difficulties in distributing and exporting their produce to supermarkets and communities. With many farms located hundreds of miles away from urban areas, farmers rely on mass shipping to transport fresh produce. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has indirectly caused a logistic bottleneck nightmare. Many businesses have closed or reduced their workforce to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, this has left many shipping companies and other key roles in the distribution chain short-staffed and unable to fully support the industry. Farms are resorting to destroying their harvest or letting them rot all together because it is actually the most cost affordable option right now.
Image Credit: BEHSUDI, ADAM, and RYAN MCCRIMMON. “Food Goes to Waste amid Coronavirus Crisis.” Food Goes to Waste amid Coronavirus Crisis, 5 Apr. 2020.
So why is an AgTech company taking notice of these problems? Well first off great question! Bifarm’s mission is to improve agriculture for generations to come and we have seen where these improvements can be made through aeroponics. As you know, aeroponics is a soilless growing method used for indoor cultivation. It conserves water usage while increasing crop growth and harvest yields. Areas that already have limited water will be less restricted in their cultivation efforts. By using an enclosed space we can avoid pests and contamination from harming crops as well as utilize vertical space for growing. This can help maximize potential food production with less land usage. Another benefit of less land usage is that we can bring farming closer to urban areas and reduce the need for long-distance transportation. We can help prevent food waste and increase access for greater food security. So far seems like a great solution for these areas. However, the need for electricity and equipment costs have been a barrier to widespread introduction and use.
That’s where our innovations begin. We’re working towards a more self-sustaining agriculture project inspired by these issues. Taking good practices and making them better we can reduce food waste, increase local cultivation, and phase out dependence on pesticides. The next wave of Future Farm will utilize all the abundant natural resources and conserve the scarce ones. With combined sustainable practices we aim to provide a method of cultivation so that any region may gain greater food security. Our goal is to provide more control of the growth process as well as overall production. “Combined with our existing automation we’re confident in enhancing resource efficiency, preventing post-harvest loss, and reducing costs of agriculture in almost any area facing similar agricultural challenges.” - Wanjun, Founder of Bifarm Tech, Inc.