Traditional culture system (TCS) in open field is high demanding in water and other natural resources and thus has driven the development of protected cultivation systems with innovative horticultural growing techniques.
Greenhouse systems and soilless culture system (SCS) can allow obtaining high yields and improving water use efficiency especially in marginal and arid regions. Desert areas have tapped the opportunity arising from technical innovation to create new chances for horticulture development with important social and environmental impacts; today these advanced techniques can be successfully adopted in every context in which a high-water use efficiency is needed.
Indoor and vertical farming represent new possible cultivation strategies for urban and peri-urban areas where the SCS plays an important role. Integrated systems must be adopted for lowering the production costs such as the use of innovative lighting systems and ICT controlling units for real time management. In fact, the application of highly specialized growing techniques represents an efficient tool to increase sustainable agricultural productions, thanks to the interaction between growers, supply chain partners, research institutes and governmental agencies.