Connect with us


How to succeed in vertical farming

Vertical farms can be set up almost anywhere, making it possible to grow crops in the middle of populous urban centers, meaning that it is possible for crops to reach consumers within minutes of harvest.



Photo by R Khalil from

Vertical farming is an emerging technique within agriculture that involves growing crops indoors under controlled environmental conditions. By carefully tailoring the environment to the exact requirements of the crop, such as through using LED lighting to produce the exact light spectrum needed for optimal photosynthesis, it is possible to obtain yields hundreds of times higher than traditional agriculture.

Vertical farms can be set up almost anywhere, making it possible to grow crops in the middle of populous urban centers, meaning that it is possible for crops to reach consumers within minutes of harvest. This contrasts with traditional agriculture, where fresh produce can take weeks to reach consumers, losing freshness and increasing contamination risk along the way. The recent IDTechEx report, “Vertical Farming: 2020-2030” explores the technologies and markets around the fast-growing vertical farming industry.

Vertical farming has been the subject of a lot of hype in recent years, with supporters claiming it could revolutionise food production. Industry advocates, such as Columbia University Professor Dickson Despommier, have presented visions of a future world where fresh food is grown inside skyscrapers to feed giant, high-tech metropolises (for further visions of the cities of the future, see the IDTechEx report, “Smart City Opportunities: Infrastructure, Systems, Materials 2019-2029”). Investors are also feeling the hype, with vertical farming start-ups raising over a billion dollars in investment in the last five years alone.

Image result for intelligent growth solutions"

Vertical farms use artificial lighting and carefully controlled climates to grow crops at far higher yields than conventional agriculture. Source: Intelligent Growth Solutions

However, despite this optimism, the industry does face some major challenges and the sector has more than its fair share of bankruptcies. PodPonics, once the most well-funded vertical farming company in the world, and FarmedHere, which once operated what remains the largest vertical farm ever built, both went bankrupt. David Rosenberg, Chief Executive of New Jersey based vertical farming outfit AeroFarms, recently said he wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of the players in the industry went out of business within the next three years.

Broadly, many vertical farms struggle for the same reasons. As well as costing a lot of money to set up, vertical farms can be very expensive to run, largely because they require continuously running artificial lighting and climate controls. This is compounded by high labour costs and logistical difficulties that often get more difficult as the vertical farm gets larger. This all makes it very difficult to compete on price with produce grown on conventional farms, which typically have razor-thin profit margins. Because of these challenges, vertical farmers generally only grow crops where the whole of the plant can be consumed, in order to maximise space efficiency and avoid wasting energy on growing inedible stems and leaves. Therefore, almost all vertical farmers are restricted to growing herbs and leafy greens. These are still a large market, but fall somewhere short of the lofty claims made by some supporters of the industry.

It is certainly possible to run a successful vertical farming business, as fast growing players such as Bowery Farming and InFarm will attest to, however it requires a carefully planned out strategy and consideration of all the variables and trade offs involved in vertical farming, in addition to a fair amount of investor capital.

The keys to success in vertical farming are outlined in the recent IDTechEx report, “Vertical Farming: 2020-2030”. The report discusses several factors that can contribute to the success or failure of a vertical farm, including:

  • Whether or not to automate. Automation can significantly reduce labour costs while streamlining the logistical processes. However, investing in advanced automation equipment can lead to extremely high start-up costs.
  • Choice of crops. Should vertical farming try to branch out beyond leafy greens, or should it corner the market it has? What about higher value crops inaccessible to conventional agriculture?
  • How large is too large? Larger centralised facilities could lead to economies of scale but could also face spiralling logistical difficulties. However, smaller localised facilities may face much higher start-up costs relative to the output capacity.
  • The importance of location: is a city centre location really the best place to set up a vertical farm?
  • The need for experience in the food industry. Crops are living organisms and are not always predictable. Despite this, there is a relative lack of food and agriculture experience in the vertical farming sector.


Pru Life UK named International Life Insurer of the Year



Insurance Asia Awards, one of the prestigious recognition programs honoring the most outstanding insurance companies in Asia Pacific, cited Pru Life UK as the International Life Insurer of the Year – Philippines for the third year. The award-giving body recognized Pru Life UK’s innovations, new products, strategic partnerships, and community investment initiatives related to youth financial literacy, climate health risk management, and OFW protection.

“We are deeply honored to receive this coveted award for the third time in a row. Our heartfelt thanks to our employees, agency force, distribution partners, and more especially, our loyal customers for this remarkable feat,” said Allan Tumbaga, Pru Life UK Executive Vice President and Chief Customer & Marketing Officer.

Adding to its growing list of accolades, Pru Life UK was also conferred with a Bronze Stevie at the recent Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards for the Innovation in Internal Corporate Events category. The Byaheng PRU Engagement Program, a project of its Employee Welfare Committee, has been instrumental in fostering collaboration among employees from various divisions and empowering over 900 full-time employees to lead their own company-wide initiatives for growth and success.

Empowering Filipinos through financial inclusion and affordable protection

Over the past years, Pru Life UK has championed financial awareness, literacy, and inclusion among Filipinos through innovative insurance products.

One such product, PRUHealth FamLove, is a pioneering critical illness protection plan that covers up to 4 family members in a single policy, including adopted families, cohabiting couples, and same-sex partners.

Furthermore, through strategic partnerships with popular e-commerce platforms GCash and Shopee, Pru Life UK has made bite-sized insurance products even more accessible to its customers.

“These recognitions inspire us to continue fulfilling our commitment to helping more Filipino families live healthier and wealthier. With our over 40,000 digitally empowered agency force, we remain dedicated to putting our customers at the heart of everything we do by providing inclusive and affordable products addressing their diverse needs,” said Tumbaga.

These awards mark another milestone for Pru Life UK as Prudential plc, its parent company, celebrates its 175th anniversary, including 100 years in Asia.

Continue Reading


Pru Life UK, Prudence Foundation partner with ASSIST for Project Padayon

The project which is funded by Prudence Foundation’s COVID-19 Recovery Grant aims to help uplift the lives of residents of Bantayan Island, Cebu through a series of community-based training and development programs.



Pru Life UK and Prudence Foundation, the community investment arm of Prudential plc in Asia and Africa, have joined hands with the Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) for Project Padayon Bantayan Island.

The project which is funded by Prudence Foundation’s COVID-19 Recovery Grant aims to help uplift the lives of residents of Bantayan Island, Cebu through a series of community-based training and development programs.

“We’ve been supporting the Bantayan Island community for almost a decade now and we are happy to see how it has grown. With Project Padayon, we are positive that it will bring transformative improvements, enabling the residents to thrive in multiple aspects of their lives,’’ says Marc Fancy, Executive Director, Prudence Foundation.

Project Padayon will run from 11 July to 1 December 2023 and include workshops focused on micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) empowerment, family health and nutrition, jobs and careers, disaster risk preparedness, and climate change resilience. Participants will receive modules that will be cascaded to up to 2,000 students and community members.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner once more with Pru Life UK and Prudence Foundation. This partnership aims to empower the residents of Bantayan Island through a comprehensive learning program that will touch on different topics like financial well-being, health, and disaster resilience to help them prepare for the future,’’ says Francis Macatulad, Executive Director, ASSIST.

The project will culminate with an appreciation and recognition program in December, followed by a Pamaskong Handog with Habitat for Humanity communities that Pru Life UK and Prudence Foundation helped build after typhoon Yolanda

Transforming lives in Bantayan Island

The project was launched at Beach Placid Resort in Santa Fe, Cebu and was attended by local government unit representatives and community leaders of Bantayan Island.

“We are happy to be back in Bantayan Island and see familiar faces. At Pru Life UK, it is our mission to help Filipinos get the most out of life. This project is a big opportunity for us to fulfill our commitment to help Filipinos lead healthier and wealthier lives,’’ says Gizelle Camua, Vice President for Community Investment and Advocacy, Pru Life UK.

Close to 100 micro-entrepreneurs joined a workshop with the theme “MSME Empowerment.” Attendees received modules on business management, finance, and digital marketing materials, which will also be cascaded to 1,000 other micro-entrepreneurs. They also learned best practices from young local entrepreneurs that shared their real-life experiences.

In addition, over 80 mothers with their newborns were given free PRUMedCare Select Infectious Disease coverage plan as part of the PRUBabies campaign. The coverage offers cash assistance for diagnosis and death due to any of the four common types of infectious diseases: dengue, typhoid, measles, and malaria.

Propelling impactful conversations

Project Padayon is a continuing initiative rooted in Pru Life UK and Prudence Foundation’s commitment to developing Filipino lives through impactful conversations on the importance of financial literacy and health awareness.

Pru Life UK has been actively involved in aiding Bantayan Island since 2013 by means of humanitarian initiatives, including gift-giving programs, the provision of essential food packages, and the establishment of water supply networks alongside the deployment of portable ultrasound machines.

The same year, Pru Life UK and Prudence Foundation launched Build Better Now. The project brought PRUVolunteers all over Asia and the United Kingdom to build 126 disaster-resilient homes and disseminate 183 motorized boats with fishing nets and 140 cycle pedicabs to Yolanda survivors on the island. Build Better Now ran until 2017 and earned the Award of Merit under the Communications Management – Corporate Social Responsibility category.

Continue Reading


RLC Residences gets global recognitions in Dubai

The awards also came in time for the brand’s efforts to expand its network in Dubai, as RLC Residences prepares to open its new office in the city. This strategic move aims to provide delightful customer service to investors and homebuyers in the Middle East region who have long supported the brand and its projects.



In a promising kickoff to the month, the residential division of Robinsons Land Corporation, RLC Residences, has clinched two prestigious awards for its dedication to constructing beautiful, well-designed condominiums in the Philippines.

Dubai-based International Business Magazine Awards hailed RLC Residences as the recipient of Real Estate Developer of the Year Philippines and Best Property Development Company in the Philippines 2023 during its recent awarding ceremony at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. The annual awarding ceremony honors the extraordinary accomplishments of companies from various sectors such as real estate in the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa, and America.

“It is an honor to receive international recognitions like these for RLC Residences. We are proud of the work that we do and of our commitment to building nurturing condo spaces so our homeowners can design and live their best lives. Thank you so much, International Business Magazine Awards, for recognizing our efforts to Raise, Live, and Connect not just here in the Philippines but also in other parts of the world,” says Karen Cesario, RLC Residences Senior Director, Marketing Head and Chief Integration Officer.

The awards also came in time for the brand’s efforts to expand its network in Dubai, as RLC Residences prepares to open its new office in the city. This strategic move aims to provide delightful customer service to investors and homebuyers in the Middle East region who have long supported the brand and its projects.

Now in its 6th year, the International Business Magazine Awards annually highlights the exemplary endeavors of corporations that consistently demonstrate exceptional leadership abilities. This UAE-based online publishing company continuously strives to acknowledge and appreciate the hard work and dedication to achieving success in the competitive world of international business.

Continue Reading

Like Us On Facebook

Facebook Pagelike Widget

Most Popular

Copyright ©FRINGE PUBLISHING. All rights reserved.