Managing relentless innovation in a PPP model to prototype Urban Farming 4.0

 

The coronavirus pandemic has shown that even the most sophisticated Food Resilience and Food Security Plans have been found wanting. This article follows up on our February 2, 2018 posting.

The global pandemic lit up the screen on ALL of the threats ALL at once – compromising food safety, disrupting supply chains, creating economic instability in nations on all the continents, political uncertainties that threaten bilateral and multilateral agreements, food frauds perpetuated because products are sold on-line bypassing consumer protection safeguards, conflict zones adding to difficulties in food production and distribution.

Add to these threats is the effect of climate change which is disrupting food production as well as surfacing animal and crop diseases like swine flu, avian flu and massive locust infestations.

The result – agricultural produce on the ground that cannot get to consumer markets, and are left to rot; food importing countries scrambling to find new sources, and feeling somewhat powerless to negotiate secure supplies at “acceptable” pricing.

“Urban Farming 4.0”: The KLOSS answer to producing food on a large scale close to urban centres.

The need has never been greater. Supply chain resilience requires multiple sources of food produce being available. The basic fresh produce required are Vegetables, Poultry and Fish.

Vegetables are farmed in multiple locations across the northern and southern hemisphere, and in normal times is relatively easy to build supply chain resilience. However, most vegetables are from commercial farms which use chemicals and herbicides. Further, in times of supply chain disruption, vegetables cannot get to markets and are left to waste on the ground as they are highly perishable. Organically grown vegetables are more wholesome, but they are only available from very few sources and are generally limited in quantity.

Poultry generally are sourced frozen from very large commercial farms and processing plants in South America, Europe and the US. However, these poultry are reared or processed using hormones, antibiotics, vaccines and chemicals. See our postings on June 27, 2017 and September 18, 2017.

Fresh poultry on the other hand has to be close to consumers as Food Safety requirement is for poultry from the slaughterhouse to supermarkets within 2 days, and on-shelves for maximum 3 days. This means that the slaughterhouse must be close to consumer centres, and live poultry transported in – a very challenging logistics chain if the farms themselves are not close to the slaughterhouse. Organically reared poultry faces the same logistics challenges as fresh poultry, and are available only from limited and smaller suppliers.

Fish is currently supplied as wild caught or farmed. Wild caught fish has been on a steep decline as fish stocks have been commercially “fished out”. In addition, it has recently been discovered that wild caught fish are already contaminated with microplastics. Farmed fish is mostly net farmed in the ocean or rivers. This method of farming not only requires large doses of vaccines, antibiotics and chemicals to keep the fish healthy, but it is also very environmentally damaging due to the contamination of the waters around, upstream and downstream of the farms. This farming is not sustainable.

Why is Urban Farming 4.0 so slow to take off? It needs two hands to clap in a PPP collaboration.

To make Urban Farming 4.0 a reality requires two hands to clap: one hand develops the suite of innovative technologies that are required. The second hand is the government, in order to meet Food Security, Food Resilience, Food Safety and Wholesome Food goals.

The Global Urban Farming Alliance of which KLOSS is a member is that first hand, using SURF™ methodologies and innovations to develop Urban Farming 4.0. The government assists in funding and global networking efforts to develop and construct the prototype Urban Farming 4.0 farm, and assists in supporting investments to scale it up and commercialise it.

This Private-Public-Partnership (PPP) collaboration model for the first Urban Farming 4.0 farm is key to building national Food Security and Food Resilience for its citizens.

What is the common Purpose of the partners of this PPP?

The partners of this PPP must be able to coalesce the passion, excitement and enthusiasm of the teams, the stakeholders and the public, and the way to do this is to have a clear and consistent Purpose: To develop sustainable and environmentally responsible Urban Farming of Wholesome Foods.

 

How will Urban Farming 4.0 be a successful and sustainable business?

Advances in technologies, technology spill-overs, changes in the business environment - nothing today stands still.

Urban Farming 4.0 is not and cannot be a static point. To be sustainable and successful, it must relentlessly innovate. Innovation is sustained in Purpose driven, Learning organizations.

Sharing a common and clear Purpose, the PPP collaborators subscribe to the values of a Learning Organization – one that cultivates the search for and assimilation of knowledge, treasures curiosity, encourages ideas, and promotes the continuous discovery of knowledge. It is these discoveries that are necessary for relentless innovations – and therefore ensure that Urban Farming 4.0 is both sustainable and successful.

 

The partners of KLOSS & Associates are committed to technology innovation in accelerating the transformation of farming into sustainable and successful businesses for the good of humanity.

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