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The Rise of Vertical Farming in the Philippines: A Review and Analysis for Cost and Benefits

Vertical farming is a type of sustainable agriculture that involves growing crops in stacked layers indoors, using controlled environmental conditions and hydroponic or aeroponic systems. This innovative farming technique has been gaining popularity in the Philippines, especially in urban areas where land and water resources are scarce. In this article, we will review and analyze the production cost and benefits of vertical farming in the Philippines and how it can contribute to food security, economic development, and environmental protection.

Vertical Farming in the Philippines

Vertical Farming in the Philippines

The Impact of Vertical Farming in Urban Philippines

The Philippines is most densely populated countries in the world, with over 109 million people living in an area of about 300,000 square kilometers. About half of the population lives in urban areas, which are expected to grow by 50% by 2050. This poses a challenge for food production, as urbanization reduces the availability of arable land and increases the demand for fresh and nutritious food.

Moreover, the Philippines is highly vulnerable to natural disasters such as typhoons, floods, droughts, and earthquakes, which can damage crops and disrupt food supply chains. Vertical farming can help address these challenges by bringing food production closer to consumers, reducing transportation costs, wastage, and emissions.

Vertical farms can also produce more food per unit area than traditional farms, using less water, energy, and fertilizer. For example, one hectare of a vertical farm can produce as much as 10 hectares of a conventional farm while using 95% less water, 40% less energy, and no pesticides or herbicides. Vertical farms can also operate year-round, regardless of weather conditions or seasons, ensuring a stable and consistent supply of fresh and organic produce.

Benefits of Vertical Farming for Food Security in the Philippines

Food security is defined as the availability and access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food that meets people’s dietary needs and preferences. The Philippines faces several threats to food security, such as population growth, climate change, poverty, malnutrition, and dependence on food imports. The World Food Programme, about 16% of Filipinos are undernourished, while 33% of children under five are stunted due to chronic hunger.

Vertical farming can improve food security in the Philippines by increasing the domestic production of high-value crops such as leafy greens, herbs, fruits, and vegetables, which are often imported from other countries or regions. Vertical farming can also enhance the quality and safety of food by eliminating the risk of contamination from soil-borne diseases, pests, or chemicals. Furthermore, vertical farming can empower smallholder farmers and urban dwellers by providing them with income opportunities and access to affordable and healthy food.

How Vertical Farming is Revolutionizing Agriculture in the Philippines

Increased Crop Yields and Quality: Vertical farming enhances food production by stacking multiple crop layers indoors, optimizing growing conditions. This method delivers higher yields per unit area compared to traditional farming, providing fresh and nutritious produce year-round without the need for harmful pesticides or chemical fertilizers.

Environmental Impact Reduction: Vertical farming mitigates environmental strain by conserving water, energy, and land resources. It employs efficient water usage, wastewater recycling, and renewable energy sources and minimizes land conversion and deforestation. Additionally, it contributes to lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduces food waste by shortening the distance between production and consumption, thereby minimizing post-harvest losses.

Economic Opportunities Creation: Vertical farming generates job opportunities and income, particularly benefiting urban residents, including women and youth, who can engage in urban agriculture as entrepreneurs or workers. This approach also enhances food security for low-income households, offering access to affordable and healthy food within their communities.

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Carrying Box of Seedlings Along Vertical Farming

Adapting Vertical Farming Technologies to the Philippine Climate

Crop Selection: Adapting to the Philippine climate involves selecting suitable crops with consideration for light, water, and nutrient requirements. Ideal crops for vertical farming in the Philippines include leafy greens, herbs, microgreens, strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, and mushrooms.

System Design: Tailoring vertical farming systems to local conditions requires consideration of available space, budget, market demand, and environmental factors. Options such as hydroponic systems using water as a growing medium, aeroponic systems utilizing mist or fog, and aquaponic systems combining fish farming with plant cultivation have varying advantages and disadvantages in terms of cost, efficiency, productivity, and sustainability.

Best Practices Implementation: Successful vertical farming in the Philippines involves meticulous management of environmental parameters like temperature, humidity, light intensity and duration, pH level, nutrient concentration, and water quality and quantity. These parameters must be adjusted based on crop needs and climatic conditions. Regular maintenance of equipment and infrastructure, including pumps, pipes, filters, fans, lights, and sensors, is also crucial for sustained efficiency.

Opportunities to Invest in the Vertical Philippine Agricultural Sector

Vertical farming is gaining more popularity in the Philippines due to its potential benefits. Investment opportunities in this sector include:

  • Developing innovative technologies.
  • Providing technical assistance for farmers and entrepreneurs.
  • Establishing partnerships among various stakeholders.

Research and development of suitable technologies are needed to improve efficiency, productivity, quality, and sustainability in vertical farming systems. Additionally, guidance on choosing the best crops, systems, locations, markets, and business models is needed. Partnerships and collaborations among government agencies, academic institutions, private companies, non-governmental organizations, and community groups are also needed to create platforms for sharing knowledge, resources, experiences, and best practices in vertical farming.

Vertical Farming’s Role in Enhancing Green Spaces in Philippine Cities

Vertical farming can significantly improve green spaces in Philippine cities, which are often congested and polluted. These spaces offer environmental, social, and economic benefits, such as improving air quality, enhancing biodiversity, promoting health and well-being, and generating income and value. They absorb harmful gases and release oxygen and water vapor, lowering temperatures and humidity. They also provide habitats and food sources for various plants and animals, supporting pollination and pest control services.

Green spaces also offer opportunities for physical activity, relaxation, and social interaction, reducing stress and noise levels and improving mental health and mood. Additionally, vertical farming can generate income and value by producing food, flowers, medicinal plants, and other products. These green spaces also enhance the aesthetic and cultural value of urban areas, attracting tourists and investors.

Vertical Farming Cost in the Philippine

Various factors, including the type and size of the system, the location and space, the crops and inputs, and the market and demand, influence vertical farming costs in the Philippines. The cost of a simple hydroponic system can be as low as 5,000 pesos, while a sophisticated aeroponic system with LED lights and sensors can cost as high as 500,000 pesos. Vertical farming can be done in various locations and spaces, such as rooftops, balconies, basements, warehouses, or containers. 

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Vertical Farm

The cost of vertical farming depends on the availability, accessibility, and suitability of these locations and spaces. The cost of vertical farming can also vary depending on the quantity, quality, and source of the crops and inputs. The cost of vertical farming can also vary depending on the market and demand, with premium products being more profitable to high-end customers than low-income ones.

Traditional Farming vs. Vertical Farming in the Philippines

Traditional Farming


  • Natural and Organic: Relies on natural resources and processes, resulting in more nutritious and flavorful products without artificial inputs.
  • Accessible and Affordable: Requires minimal capital or equipment, widely available, and familiar to most farmers and consumers in the Philippines.


  • Vulnerable and Risky: Exposed to environmental threats like pests, diseases, droughts, floods, and other uncertainties leading to potential crop losses or failures.
  • Inefficient and Wasteful: Utilizes more land, water, energy, and labor while producing less food per unit area. Generates higher greenhouse gas emissions and food waste compared to vertical farming.
Vertical Farming


  • Productive and Consistent: Produces more food per unit area by stacking multiple crop layers indoors, controlling optimal growing conditions for fresh and quality food year-round.
  • Sustainable and Resilient: Saves water, energy, and land resources, utilizing less water than conventional irrigation, recycling wastewater, and employing renewable energy sources. Reduces the need for land conversion or deforestation, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions and food waste.

The Disadvantage of vertical farming is high initial cost. It involves significant upfront investment in technology and infrastructure.

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Strawberries in Vertical Farm


The ascendancy of vertical farming in the Philippines heralds a transformative approach to agriculture. Despite initial production costs, the benefits of increased yield, sustainability, and year-round production position vertical farming as a promising solution to the country’s evolving agricultural landscape.


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