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Agriculture: Could this be the future?

Agriculture: Could this be the future?

According to The Independent, a farm that works to cultivate lettuces using only LED light technology opened in July and has already shown promising results with as many as 10,000 heads a day being produced. 

The physiologist behind the farm, Shigeharu Shimamura, claimed that he wanted to explore the way we could meet the ever-growing demands of food while avoiding the potential risks posed with traditional means of agriculture, including crop disease and frequent droughts.

He said "I knew how to grow good vegetables biologically and I wanted to integrate that knowledge with hardware to make things happen."

The room where the lettuces grow is climate controlled and relies on LED light bulbs that "emit at wavelengths - the most ideal for plant growth". It also provides current farmers with control over day and night cycles.

Mr Shimamura commented "What we need to do is not just setting (sic) up more days and nights. We want to achieve the best combination of photosynthesis during the day and breathing at night by controlling the lighting and environment."

The lights provide these farmers with control over irrigation, humidity and temperature. The Independent states that this allows the farm to "cut its water usage to 1 per cent of that needed by outdoor fields, while also growing lettuce two and a half times faster."

The farm currently consists of a total of 17,500 lights. According to The Independent, "The Japan arm of the corporation said it hopes that indoor farms such as this one in the Miyagi Prefecture, which was badly damaged by the powerful earthquake and tsunami in 2011, could solve food shortages in the world."

Mr Shimamura concluded by saying "finally we are about the start the real agricultural industrialisation."

With high hopes for this project, there seems to be a hint of optimisation in the air as the farmers continue to work with the room in order to experiment and test whether this is a successful and safe method of food production.

What do you think about growing foods, notably vegetables, in this way? Do you agree that it would help the food shortages present around the world massively or do you disagree with this means of production?

Before we conclude, let's take a look at the potential benefits of this method of food production. Time, for instance, is most definitely against us when it comes to growing crops especially if you're a farmer located in an area that suffers from extreme weather variations. This type of production can help to speed up the time it takes to grow consumable crops which can help in desperate times of need or, as mentioned, as the current demand of food continues to escalate.

On top of this, you have things like natural disasters and the issue of insects eating the crops, leaving them unsuitable for consumption. This method of food production can help to strike out and potentially eliminate these issues while still providing us with a safe product to eat.

So, weighing up the benefits, could this be the potential future of agriculture? We will have to wait and see.