Indoor Farming Market Potential

The FAJAR Indoor Farming technology is based on hydroponics and advanced LED lighting. Hydroponics is a soil-free cultivation technique. Hydroponic systems are ideal for the commercial grower, as they are highly efficient and require low capital, while producing higher yields with less labour input.

The system can cheaply and easily produce quality vegetables and fruit almost all year round. The roots grow down through a cup. The nutrient solution is pumped into the cell medium, floods the root zone for a short time, and is then allowed to drain back into the reservoir.

The systems requiring electrical power (to run water or air pumps) a consistent power supply is critical. FAJAR indoor farm has various options which may cultivate a dozen of crops requiring notable differentiation in vegetative regimes, temperature, humidity level, lightening hours etc.

Each regime for the specific crop is scripted providing the most efficient use of water and nutrients and may be easily tuned via apps by computer/ smartphone.

There is no need in additional weeding and cultivation. On the other hand, the main responsibility of the indoor farm user is a regular water changing once a week. Fresh water which is put into an appliance reservoir is to be mixed with nutrients composing a nutrient solution feeding plants for a week. Nutrients are one of the basics of any hydroponic system.

In order for a fertilizer to be incorporated into a hydroponic system it must be soluble in water. If not, the plant cannot access it. With hydroponics the grower has complete control over the implementation of fertilizer, regarding type and concentration. They also have the ability to immediately monitor and maintain a relative consistency, provided a nutrient meter is available.

The composition of the nutrients is important and there are over twenty elements that are needed for a plant to grow.

Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are absorbed from the air and water. The rest of the elements, called mineral nutrients, are dissolved in the nutrient solution and need to be in the correct ratios. Any good hydroponic nutrient should contain all of these elements: Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K), Phosphorous (P), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Sulphur (S), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Molybdenum (Mo), Boron (B), Chlorine (Cl).

For the most part, this is taken care of with any pre-formulated commercial hydroponic nutrients.

Contrary to the sun, traditional assimilation lighting, LED lighting only omits one color of light. No energy is wasted with light spectra that are not used by the plant. As such, the new lighting technology provides the correct lighting colors plants need for photosynthesis-blue, red, and infrared light.

LED lights are revolutionizing the way of plants cultivation with numerous advantages as growth stimulation, energy efficiency, and adjustable wavelength. This is the range of light that photosynthetic organisms can use for photosynthesis.

Moreover, the light units are calibrated to create an ideal microenvironment by producing high-quality lighting that is similar to daylight. These units are also long lasting, with a life span of about one decade, and are sold at affordable prices.

Chlorophyll is a pigment in plants and the most common, it is most efficient at utilizing red and blue light. There are other pigments in plants known as carotenes and xanthophylls which utilize green light within the photosynthetic process but you can see that plants do not use much of this light as leaves are green meaning they are reflecting that coloring.

In this case, the length of light waves at 430-460nm and 630-660nm estimated that due to the length of the light wave is ideal for the photosynthesis of plants and also help in the growth.

Market Analysis

What is an Indoor Farming?

Indoor farming or sometimes known as vertical farming referred to the new agricultural and agricultural technology methods, which combines the design of farms and structures with several levels of growing beds, often lined with artificial lights. Many have implemented this model in new and old buildings, including warehouses that repurposed for agricultural activities.

Indoor farming also can take place on the rooftops of old and new buildings, atop commercial and residential structures.

Examples of indoor/vertical farming it can be found dating back:

  1. To the ancient era in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of Philon’s Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, built around 600 BC.
  2. In 1915, Gilbert Ellis Bailey coined the term “vertical farming” and wrote a book titled “Vertical Farming”. He argued that farming hydroponically in a controlled vertical environment would provide economic and environmental
  3. In the early 1930s, William Frederick Gericke pioneered hydroponics at the University of California at
  4. In the 1980s, ke Olsson, a Swedish ecological farmer, also proposed vertical farming as a means for producing vegetables in cities. He is known for having invented a spiral-shaped rail system for growing plants.
  5. Around the turn of the century, Dickson Despommier, an American ecologist, and professor of public health, passionately revived the concept of vertical. He described the vertical farm as “the mass cultivation of plant and animal life for commercial purposes in skyscrapers. Using advanced greenhouse technology such as hydroponics and aeroponics, the vertical farm could theoretically produce fish, poultry, fruit, and vegetables.”

Governments looking for ways to boost domestic food security have been funding these endeavors. Numerous countries including Korea, Japan, China, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, China, France, India, Sweden, Singapore, and the United States, have convened to discuss vertical farming. They have repeatedly endorsed the concept as integral to the long-term sustainability of their cities.

The vertical farm is considered to promote sustainable agricultural practices more than that by conventional farming, which refers to large scale, outdoor agriculture that embraces systems that engage heavy irrigation, intensive tillage and excessive use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.

What can be Planted?

  1. Leafy Green – Butterhead lettuce, Green Galaxy lettuce, Pak Choy
  2. Herbs – Peppermint, Lavender, Thai Basil, arugula, parsley, mint, rosemary
  3. Fruits – Chili, Cherry Tomato, Strawberry

Malaysia Agro Food Sector Market

Malaysia Agro Food Sector Market being targeted to grow at 5.4% per annum in the 11th Malaysian Plan (2016-2020). However, Malaysia Productivity Report 2017/2018 has reported a lower value-added generated by the agro- food sub-sector, whereby it has only grown by 1.9% in 2017. This is much lower compared to the overall agriculture sector’s performance which is 7.2%.

Statistics from the Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority (FAMA) show that Malaysia’s fruit and vegetable import bill for 2018 touched RM8.5 billion, and RM8.9 billion the previous year. In 2015, its total food import bill came to an astronomical RM45 billion.

FAMA statistics for 2017 showed Malaysia imported vegetable imports from China came to RM2.48 billion, followed by India RM538.32 million and the US RM405.86 million.

According to the FAOSTAT, the highest cultivation area in Malaysia is for watermelon with 12,009 ha, followed by cucumber at 4,630 ha, spinach at 4043 ha, brassicas at 3546 ha and chili and sweet pepper at 2870 ha. Cultivation of tomatoes is low at 1988 ha probably because of inadequate growing conditions.

Some of the key productivity challenges for the sector include:

  1. Inadequate focus on value-adding activities and disconnections along the value chain,
  2. High number of inefficient small players with limited resources
  3. Deficient in product quality standards
  4. Low technology adoption
  5. Limited funding opportunities available for the players.

Other issues faced by the agro-food subsector are as follows:

  1. Land scarcity for farming purpose
  2. Human capital shortages
  3. Inefficient logistics
  4. Poor quality of input supply
  5. High production costs

In general, the industry has experienced a decrease in productivity and self- sufficiency ratio for some of the key food products.

Malaysia’s Agrofood Policy (NAP 2011-2020)

Food security is a global issue that concerns every nation.. On the other hand, despite the increase of agricultural land, the land capable of being plough and used to grow agro-food crops is projected to decrease 2.2% from 870,000 hectares in 2010 to 825,000 hectares in 2020.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry introduced the National Agrofood Policy (NAP4) in 2010 as a replacement to the National Agricultural Policy (NAP3). The blueprint sets a direction to transform the agricultural sector to become more dynamic, progressive and sustainable.

It addresses issues and challenges faced by every industry under the agro-food sector, sets strategies and action plans. The NAP4 covers a period between 2011 and 2020. The objectives of the NAP4 are:

  1. To ensure adequate food supply and food safety
  2. To develop the agro-food into a competitive and sustainable industry
  3. To increase the income level of agricultural

The policy was developed based on eight main ideas that are critical for the development of the agricultural sector in Malaysia as follows:

  1. Food security – sufficiency, availability, affordability, and safety
  2. Development of high-value agriculture
  3. Sustainable agricultural development
  4. Dynamic agricultural cluster with maximization of income generation
  5. Private sector-driven investments in modern agriculture
  6. Knowledge and information-based human capital
  7. Modernization of agriculture by R&D, technology and innovation
  8. Prime agricultural support services

The NAP4 identified four main issues and challenges that affected the performance of the agricultural sector in Malaysia. They are:

  1. The depreciation of MalaysianRinggit
  2. Changes in food consumption patterns
  3. Low productivity and less participation of youth
  4. And the implementation of new tax

New Direction for the Agriculture Sector

The Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry released a new direction for the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry that cover a period between 2019 and 2020.

The document highlights a five-point food security plan, 18 strategies and 51 initiatives that aims to strengthen the implementation of the National Agrofood Policy 2011-2020.

The new direction was announced by its new Minister, Salahuddin Ayob on 14 February 2019. This action plan is geared towards ensuring national food security and boosting revenue in the agricultural sector.

The five-point food security plan aims to achieve five objectives as follows:

  1. To modernize and boost agricultural production to ensure sustainable supply and stabilize the nation’s food prices by stressing the paddy, ruminants as well as fishery sub-sectors
  2. To spur private sector investments in agriculture commercially as well as increase agricultural trade exports
  3. To make agriculture a solid, sustainable and profitable revenue source for farmers, livestock breeders and fishermen and young agro- entrepreneurs
  4. To improve the agricultural industry ecosystem to support agriculture modernization, domestic private sector investments and expansion activities for farmers, livestock breeders and fishermen; and
  5. To strengthen the organizational structure of the departments and agencies under the ministry of agriculture and agro-based industry to improve the delivery system and administration

Advantages of High-Tech Indoor Farming

1 Reliable harvests Controlled indoor environments are independent of outside weather conditions and would provide consistent and reliable growing cycles to meet delivery schedules and supply contracts.
2 Minimum overheads Production overheads would decrease by 30%.
i. Low energy usage The use of high efficiency LED lighting technology ensures minimum power use for maximum plant growth. Computer management of photosynthetic wavelengths, in harmony with phase of crop growth, further minimizes energy use while ensuring optimized crop yields.
ii. Low labour costs Fully automated growing systems with automatic SMS text messaging would require manual labor only for on-site planting, harvesting, and packaging.
iii. Low water usage . Reduced washing and??processing Indoor farms would use around 10% of the water required for traditional open field farming.
iv. Reduced transport costs Positioning of facilities close to the point of sale would dramatically decrease travel times, reducing refrigeration, storage and transport costs in the process.
3 Increased growing areas Indoor farms would supply nearly ten times more growing area than traditional farms.
4 Maximum crop yield Irrespective of external conditions, indoor farms can provide more crop rotations per year than open field agriculture and other farming practices. Crop cycles are also faster due to controlled temperature, humidity, light, etc.
5 Wide range of crops The indoor farm would provide a wide range of crops.
6 Fully integrated technology The indoor farm would be fully monitored, controlled, and automated.
7 Optimum air quality The temperature, CO2, and humidity levels of the indoor farm would be optimized at all times.
8 Optimum nutrient and mineral quality The indoor farm would use specially formulated, biologically active nutrients in all crop cycles, providing organic minerals and enzymes to ensure healthy plant growth.
9 Optimum water quality All fresh water’s contaminants would be removed

before entering the vertical farm.

10 Optimum light quality High-intensity low-energy LED lighting would be specifically developed and used for maximum growth rates, high reliability, and cost-effective operations.

Industry Participants

Babylon Vertical Farms

Location: Jln Hulu Kelang, Taman Sri Ukay, Ampang Jaya

Description:
Babylon Vertical Farms is an Agricultural and Technological company that grow high quality hydroponic vegetables & herbs without sunlight and soil.

All plants are grown indoors as close to the city centre as possible. Babylon also heavily emphasizes on being an eco- friendly company as we aim to minimize water usage up to 90% less water than traditional farming.

By reinvesting profits for research and development, Babylon aims to engineer and build low cost vertical farms in impoverished areas of ASEAN so we can help to eliminate hunger caused by unfavourable farming and economic conditions.

Supported by Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MAGIC)

Naza Plantation Services Sdn Bhd (Naza Agro)

Naza Agro and YesHealth Agri-Technology Co Ltd, Taiwan signed a joint venture agreement for the establishment of a joint venture with an investment of RM35 million for the development of a technologically-advanced vertical farming business in the country.

Naza Agro would be cultivating butterhead lettuce, romaine lettuce, kale, wild argula, and collard greens in its vertical farms.

YesHealth Agri-Technology Co Ltd. It is the world’s largest hydroponic vertical farming company by production volume. It operates a 14-storey vertical farm in Taoyuan City called YesHealth iFarm.

Sunrich Awesome Sdn Bhd

Sunrich Awesome Sdn Bhd, Sibu produce fresh vegetables for local consumers that are 100 percent free of pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals. Launched in January 2017, has an indoor controlled-environment farm measuring some 250 sq metres at Ding Lik Kong Road.

The farm is able to produce 8,000 heads of lettuce and other leafy vegetables per month, and an estimated 3.5 tonnes of vegetables per year with plans to further increase shelf numbers to increase the varieties of vegetables.

Our Products & Services

PRODUCTS

Fajar Saintifik with over 12 years’ experience in setting up greenhouse setup and indoor farming material supplies. We able construct complete indoor farming system at competitive pricing.

We able to turn any run down factories, abandon buildings, bare land or used container into indoor farming units as long as its save for occupation.

1.0 Racking Systems 4ft x 8ft (Standard)
2.0 LED Lights, wiring and centralized panel with timer
3.0 Polystyrene Planting Tray
4.0 Piping system setup
5.0 Water Tanks & Pumps
6.0 Irrigation panel and pH Monitoring system
7.0 Planting Accessories
8.0 Set up of Nursery and Germination
9.0 Post-Harvest Set up
10.0 IOT Monitoring System for Climate Control and effective use of all resources
11.0 Source and supply Hybrid Vegetable/Plant Seeds

Services

  1. To supply, design, construct indoor farming units
  2. Agronomist Consultation Support for first 12 months
  3. Technical Support for first 12 months
  4. Source qualified plant technologist
  5. Train owner/farmer and staffs
  6. Marketing Support