One big challenge for farm entrepreneurs is the cost of hiring highly qualified staff, which can represent up to 60% of all operational expenditures.
The degree of automation is the main factor determining how many employees a farm will require. Higher levels of automation increase CapEx, but they also significantly reduce operating expenditures (OpEx) in the long term.
To calculate labor costs, let’s take as an example a mostly-manual large vertical farm built with iFarm Leafy Greens technology with 1.000 square meters of cultivation area located in Saudi Arabia.
On such a farm, the employees perform multiple tasks such as:
- Preparing planting containers
- Sowing seeds
- Cleaning facilities
The expenditure of employing professional farm operators for this farm in Saudi Arabia on a monthly basis will add up to $ 13,000, based on an average farm worker’s salary
(including taxes) of $ 1,300. In European countries, it may be twice as high.
On the other hand, the vertical farm with the same growing space of 1.000 square meters that is mostly automated is 30% less expensive in terms of labor costs, regardless of the region.