THE horticulture industry is assessing the potential of high-technology production systems in Australia's urban landscape.
Hort Innovation is working with a consortium, led by agricultural consultancy RMCG in partnership with University of Technology Sydney and global urban agriculture consultancy Agritecture, to assess the value of nearly fully automated production on rooftops, underground and on floating farms.
The high tech systems are claimed to have the potential to redefine horticulture by optimising yield, quality, and supply.
Hort Innovation chief executive officer, Matt Brand, said examples of high tech horticulture in urban areas already existed across the globe, using vertical farm systems, hydroponics and aquaponic systems.
"Bringing such technology to Australia would attract capital and new entrants to the sector with new ideas, approaches and mindsets," Mr Brand said.
"It gives us the opportunity to grow more from less and to keep demonstrating the good work that Australian growers do, day in day out, providing food to families both here and overseas."
Mr Brand said the high tech systems also captured regional areas and hubs.
"Growers will use the technology as part of the overall production mix," he said.
"It's another production system that will be part of the diversity and variety that is Aussie horticulture."
Australian horticulture has a target of becoming a $30 billion industry by 2030.
The six month project will include a high-level literature review, modelling of the social, economic and environmental impacts and detailed analysis of how the economics of high technology urban systems compare to traditional farming systems.
The outcomes of the study will identify future priorities for R,D&E activities and investment into Australian high technology horticulture in urban areas.
Greenhouse and hydroponic consultant Graeme Smith said technology had the potential to redefine horticulture by optimising yield, quality, produce uniformity with reliability of supply every day of the year with little to no supply gaps.
"These new systems certainly are the modern face of horticulture that should complement the current supply chain in a key range of nutritious and delicious produce," Mr Smith said.
Sign up here to Good Fruit and Vegetables weekly newsletter for all the latest horticulture news each Thursday...