Data scientists and agricultural researchers will make their way to Shanghai this year to test their lettuce-growing skills in Pinduoduo’s Smart Agriculture Competition.
Now in its third edition, participants in the annual precision farming competition will be putting their computing algorithms and agronomy skills to work cultivating lettuce inside shipping containers in a vertical farming challenge.
Vertical farming is a form of controlled environment agriculture that uses hydroponics and controlled lighting to grow crops inside enclosed structures. The shipping containers will test the ability of the growers to adjust LED lighting and other inputs to produce high-yielding and nutritious crops.
Globally, vertical farms have been built in places like supermarkets and inside skyscrapers, highlighting their potential to produce food in urban settings. Interest in vertical farming is also being driven by concerns about the long-term impact of climate change on agriculture and vice versa.
Pinduoduo will be teaming up with co-organizers China Agricultural University and Zhejiang University for the Smart Agriculture Competition. This year, we welcome a new partner, Bright Seedbase, part of Shanghai Bright Food Group.
The finals will take place at the Bright Seed Vertical Farming Pilot Campus in Chongming Island, Shanghai.
The UN Food and Agriculture Organization Representation in China and the Shanghai Academy of Agricultural Sciences will provide technical support to the competition.
The latest vertical farming challenge follows the first two editions of the Smart Agriculture Competition, which took place in smart greenhouses in Yunnan province. Several participating teams in the earlier competitions have gone on to implement their technology on working farms, while others are working on large-scale pilots with the view of scaling the solutions.