Indoor Vertical Farming in Bangkok
Farming the sky in the “Kitchen of the World”
Due to an increasing world population, while agricultural land remains limited, the conventional agricultural practices will not be able to feed the world. Attempts to increase production appear to be inefficient, by
- wasting most of the irrigation water used,
- overusing fertilizers and chemicals,
- leading to harmful effects on soil quality.
Vertical farming is the practice of producing food in vertically stacked layers and vertically inclined surfaces. Such projects are set-up in a skyscraper, a warehouse, or a shipping container. Characteristics of Indoor Vertical Farming (IVF) are
- the use of highly efficient indoor farming techniques with roughly 50 to 100 times output per space,
- independence from seasons and time of the day,
- (nearly) no use of pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides
- hydroponic units have 90%+ less water consumption
- controlled-environment agriculture (CEA) technology, where all environmental factors can be controlled
- the creation of a microclimate in a sterile environment,
- super fast-tracked farm-to-fork process
After the automation of the agriculture industry and the introduction of pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, the disruptive IVF technology can be described as the next big thing for food – although it is still an emerging industry.
Land-based fish farming in recirculating aquaculture systems is a similar technology with high potential.
Farming 5.0: Thailand’s stance to urban greenhouses
Thailand with its community-supported agriculture (CSA) initiative, existing urban agriculture and rooftop farms, offers an excellent basis to enter the Southeast Asian markets and to set-up a pilot project. And where else should the first project be started, but in the heart of Bangkok?
Under Thailand’s legislation and regulatory framework, certain aspects have to be carefully considered. These aspects include
- building legislation and zoning regulations vs. IVF green projects,
- the applicability of Thailand’s Factory Act on urban-based plant factories,
- the scope of investment promotion by Thailand’s Board of Investment,
- legal implications of the IVF’s wider agricultural marketplace opportunities, and
- the disruptive effects of these environmentally superior systems to conventional field agriculture.
Currently, Bangkok is developing rooftop farms and mixed-use skyscrapers with open-air farms. This urban farming concept should be clearly distinguished from IVF as hermetically sealed artificial environments for mass-produced agriculture.
“The role of IVF is to augment the food supply chain to create a localized system that is more resilient to adverse weather conditions and better prepared to meet the demands of a growing urban population.” (SCB Economic Intelligence Center, 20/11/17)
Apart from IVF, genetic modification and cross-species breeding techniques to create superfood is a different approach which is outlined in the article “Agriculture 4.0 – Thailand’s superfood“.
Professional services to successfully realize a Bangkok indoor vertical farm project
The Bangkok-based law firm offers comprehensive professional services, transaction advisory support, and an efficient legal project management for foreign investors in the Land of Smile. This includes the following tasks:
- Design and set-up of a robust corporate structure to protect the foreign investor’s investment.
- Advice and support on compliance with Thailand’s foreigner legislation.
- Investment promotion by Thailand’s Board of Investment, including tax holidays for three to five years,
- Acquisition of licenses and permissions for the intended IVF venture.
- Preparation and negotiation of commercial contracts, especially with suppliers and distributors.
- Ongoing corporate maintenance support.
In close cooperation with the law firm’s network partners, the IVF can be efficiently supported and assisted in these areas:
- Identification and allocation of property, fit for the IVF project in Bangkok.
- One-stop-shopping for the project company’s legal and administrative infrastructure.
- Business matchmaking with Thai participants and distribution channels.
- Introduction to international technology partners.
- Introduction to bank partners and negotiation of financing opportunities.