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Farm To Table: With Hydroponic Farming
Farming In the New Normal! Hydroponic Farming is not just a more organic and better method of farming, but a more refined version of GARDENING as HOBBY.
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Post Covid life talks about the new normal with masks and social distancing. It has also brought us closer to our families and the roots. There is sudden rage in the culture of GROW YOUR OWN GREENS, herbs and vegetables at home. This culture is of HYDROPONIC FARMING. A farming system where greens are grown organically without soil, with nutrients and 90% less water, pesticide free, and 40% more nutritious than traditional farming. It takes limited space, and hardly any time from farm to table.
Hydroponic Farming is not just a more organic and better method of farming, but a more refined version of GARDENING as HOBBY. Empty terraces, vacant farmhouses, empty land, no use land, most are seeing conversion into Hydroponic Farming by the rich and urban Middle class now. Grow your groceries on your own and be ‘Atmanirbhar’ in true sense. The scientific technique of Hydroponic Farming is the solution to, ‘I want to eat organic ’ wishes. It is a method of immersing roots of crops in water and nutrients directly instead of getting them from soil. It eliminates the use of harmful pesticides or soil-borne diseases.
Inhouse Organic Farm
You are what you eat. The fruits and vegetables we buy from market is cultivated with pesticides, disinfectants and harmful chemicals. However, being able to grow your own crop inside an indoor controlled environment, you can always be sure about the quality of the food you eat and serve. Hydroponic Farming equips you to grow your own crop and enjoy your nutrient rich meal from your own farm..
What is Hydroponics
A plant just needs select nutrients, some water, and sunlight to grow. Plants grow a lot better with their roots in water instead of soil. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a soil-free base. The roots are immersed in water and nutrients, instead of soil. It is a system where water runs in cycles in a fixed quantity and needs to be changed every 15 days. This eliminates the need to water plants every day and perfectly pH-balanced (5.5) water results in nutrient rich crop, producing healthier yields. As the Macro and micronutrients in the water are directly fed to Hydroponic plants, they have a higher growth rate than soil plants.
It is a form of “precision farming” where nothing is wasted.
How to set Up Hydroponics
Yes! You don’t need acres of land for farming anymore. You can be a hydroponic farmer even if you have no farm land or experience in farming. The minimum space one needs to set up a Hydroponic Farm is 2×3 square feet. Automatic water-based system eliminates the necessity of farmer or grower to be present 24X7. All you need is sunlight, water, and oxygen to activate your edible garden in the balcony, on the rooftop, windowsills, or even backyard. If you do vertical hydroponics, then 30 pots can thrive, and cost about Rs 3,000 per set up. One can use a standard hydroponic agriculture DIY kit, or, use a standard method to grow soilless plants inside an indoor controlled environment. Produce shall always be high quality and high on productivity.
Leading Indian companies in hydroponic
New means of growing crops organically without soil with mineral rich water solution has caught the sight of entrepreneurs in India and abroad. According to reports The India Hydroponics Market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.53% during the forecasting period (2020-2027). Renowned business groups such as DS Group and Patanjali are considering hydroponics on a commercial scale. Sakina Rajkotwala and Joshua Lewis, of Herbivore Farms, have come into focus in the last year. In Manori, Linesh Pillai started Terra Farms as a pilot project before taking the idea countrywide. Delhi has Triton Foodworks; Noida has Nature’s Miracle; Chennai has Sriram Gopal’s Future Farms and Rahul Dhoka’s Acqua Farms; and Gurugram-based company, Barton Breeze, has six farms across Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
Costs and expenses involved
Most indoor hydroponic farmers can derive greater profit without extensive capital outlay. It is important to be watchful of the hydroponic equipment, crop management, and water-use efficiency to made production profitable. It is important to spend on Regular plant maintenance, such as pruning and trellising to extend the productive life of a crop. Growers sometimes avoid these steps for greater benefits and end up yielding poor crop. Hydroponic systems, regardless of what structure they’re used in, are 60% more profitable.
Future & Growth
Many who started Hydroponic farming as a quarantine hobby have now turned it into profitable business. According to MarketsandMarkets, a market research company, the global hydroponics market is estimated to grow from $8.1 billion in 2019 to $16.0 billion by 2025, registering a CAGR of 12.1%. India’s overall fruit and vegetables (F&V) market was estimated at around Rs 5,00,000 crore in 2015. Even if we assume a meager 0.5% of this overall market translating into Hydroponic Method, there is a humongous opportunity of around Rs 2,500 cr produce at least in next five years. The primary drivers for the growth of Hydroponic Farming include growing population and the need to ensure food security. This technique is much easier than traditional farming and gives the best yields.
Plants You Can Grow.
Variety ranges from vegetables like tomatoes, Lettuce, Cucumber, Kale, Spinach, Beans, Peppers, Capsicum Radish, Ginger, Peppermint and others. Herbal plants like Chives and Basil can also be grown. Other most profitable crops to grow in a Hydroponic Farm are Dill, Mint, Cannabis, strawberries and cabbage.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.