Intensive farming appears to be the way of the future. It allows farmers to produce more from a smaller area of land, and usually consumes less resources. Many countries throughout the world – but especially in more developed countries – are turning away from traditional farming methods and instead using intensive food production techniques. This is mainly due to the fact that traditional methods simply cannot meet the needs of growing populations.
Intensive fruit farming can happen in a number of ways, but the best example would be hydroponically grown strawberries – strawberries which are not grown in soil, but rather in a nutrient rich, heavily controlled water solution. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages of intensive fruit farming, which will be outlined in rest of the article.
Advantages of intensive fruit farming
It is cheaper than traditional farming – Since intensive farms produce more fruit per unit of land, and require less resources and less labour than traditional farming, the costs of production are normally lower. This translates to cheaper food prices in the supermarket, and can mean that people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it can eat fresh fruit and veggies .
It is more efficient – Since factory farms use less resources and less land per unit of food produced, then they can be said to be more efficient. This means that the farmer doesn’t have to work as hard, and is able to make a larger profit off a smaller crop. Since it is less resource demanding, it also contributes less to environmental destruction – on this front .
Intensive farms usually have packaging and processing facilities onsite – This reduces the need to transport fruit from the farm to a packaging or processing plant. The fruit stays in better condition, and therefore reaches the consumer as a better product. It also reduces the environmental impacts of transport, and means less carbon emissions associated with fruit production .
Since intensive farms are cheaper to run, there is the chance for more variety in the fruits produced – Since the profit margins are higher for intensive farming than for traditional methods, it gives the farmer more freedom with what they grow. Species which may not usually be profitable can be with intensive methods. This means that we should see a greater variety of products in shops .
Disadvantages of intensive fruit farming
The food produced can be of poor quality – Since factory farmed fruit is produced almost artificially, it often doesn’t have the same nutrition that fruit produced using traditional methods does. Since the aim of intensive farming is to produce a large quantity of perfect looking produce, plant species tend to be bred for their looks and shelf life rather than for their taste and nutrition .
It put traditional farmers out of business – Since intensive farming allows the production of much greater volumes of fruit off a much smaller area of land, traditional farmers are unable to compete. Intensive farming is often very industrialized, which results in less jobs per unit of food produced, which in turn means a rise in unemployment and the problems associated with this .
It is very harmful to the environment – Intensive fruit farming usually involves the use of highly concentrated liquid fertilizers and a lot of deadly chemicals. These often find their way into the surrounding environment through rainwater runoff, where they wreak havoc on sensitive plants and animals. If the chemicals and fertilizers find their way into a waterway, they will eventually end up in the ocean, where they will contribute to hypoxic zones such as the one in the Gulf of Mexico .