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Wow! Ocado Invests $22 Million in Vertical Farming

Tuesday, June 11, 2019 • Tamil Comments
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Ocado, a leading online grocer has now invested £17 million (almost $22 million) in vertical farming. This involves growing food indoors under a controlled environment in stacks. This helps to save space and water compared to traditional farming. A joint venture titled Infinite Acres has been formed between Ocado, 80 Acres Farms and Priva Holdings, each holding one-third of the equity.

80 Acres Farms is a fully-automated indoor farm that uses renewable energy, 97% less water, and zero pesticides. The vertical farming company will be working with Priva Holdings which is involved in the sale of industrial horticultural systems and products. Ocado has also taken a 58% stake in Jones Food Company (JFC) the largest operating vertical farm based in Europe.

In a statement, the company reported: “We foresee a day where customers' vegetables are harvested hours before they are packed, meters from where they are shipped.” Critics of the farming method suggest that it is more expensive and uses too much energy. The company which is already known for its robotic packers is now entering a new dimension. The company’s stocks have jumped 3% in London.

While in terms of saving resources the project may be beneficial, the question of loss of livelihood arises. More mechanization means less human labour and this has already been problematic in the past. Only time will tell if this venture will be a feasible alternative to traditional farming or it will have other consequences.

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