1. Agriculture World

Hydroponics is on Rise Offering Multiple Benefits for Fresh Produce Businesses

Shivam Dwivedi
Shivam Dwivedi
Hydroponics Vertical Farming

Hydroponics is the practice of germinating seeds in water-filled trays in a humidity & temperature-controlled- enclosed environment. Nowadays, this is an important topic in the commercial farming industry, and for good reasons. 

As per a report, the global hydroponics system market was valued at $9.5 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach nearly $18 billion by 2026. Hydroponics, as a fresh produce business, you might be wondering. Or you might have already taken the decision to adopt some hydroponic farming technique at your facilities. 

Ways of Hydroponic Farming to Empower your Organization:

Let’s examine some of the ways of Hydroponic farming that can empower your organization to achieve better results: 

Focus on Sustainability 

One of the most important aspects of hydroponic farming is that it requires far less water- up to 95% less water as compared to other farming methods. This alone means such methods and techniques are far less draining on resources when compared to traditional in-ground farming. 

Apart from this, in hydroponics, climate can be controlled & regulated in an indoor hydroponic setup. Due to this, the products that would otherwise have to be imported from distant locations can be grown locally itself that reducing both the cost & environmental impacts of shipping and transportation. 

The absence of soil means far less observance of pests & weeds, in most cases eliminating the requirement for the use of insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, and other chemicals.

Now, hydroponic techniques can be vertical in format and plants can be grown closer together due to smaller root systems. Hydroponic installations require a smaller land area compared to traditional farms. This leads to less disruption of natural environments and deforestation to create planting fields and overall better land usage.

Efficiency

Simply speaking, plants grown and raised in hydroponic environments are much healthier and have higher yields in relatively fewer time frames. Because crops grown with such techniques are not planted in soil and suspended in water and, that’s why they don’t grow extensive root systems and instead divert more energy to their growth of vegetation and fruit.

Moreover, because hydroponic farming doesn’t need nearly as large a geographical footprint compared to soil farming, yield-per-acre measures are much higher. And finally, because most hydroponic systems are indoors, farming can continue year-round rather than operating on a seasonal basis.

All of this combined results in yields two to eight times higher than those achieved with traditional farming methods. What’s more, the plants grow quicker- cutting the time it takes for plants to reach maturity in half in many cases- and less susceptible to disease & pests, reducing your losses due to these factors.

Quality

There are many reasons why the produce grown at hydroponic farms can be higher in quality, but the top of them is the use of alternative substrates (media for growth). Whenever crops are grown in a sterile medium like rock wool or coconut coir, they have much superior taste & texture, as they don’t pick up the bland earthy tones from the soil. 

Apart from this, pesticides are far less necessary in hydroponic systems, healthy organic produce is much easier- and cheaper- to grow. Finally, the year-round growth cycle of hydroponic farms and the ability to grow most crops virtually anywhere due to a controlled and regulated indoor environment means that locally grown crops arrive at markets fresher and in greater variety.

Towards a Fresh Future

These are just a small sample of the advantages hydroponic farming has over traditional farming methods- we didn’t touch on the higher level of control that this approach provides, which can lead to even better results- but the value of this emerging field is clear.

Although, it’s true that not all crops can be grown in a hydroponic environment, and the approach also typically requires electricity for growing lamps. Yet, there’re some very good reasons your fresh produce business should be looking into hydroponics, or at the very least exploring ways you can involve hydroponically-grown produce in your supply chains.

To meet the growing demands for food, we must find alternatives to our current agricultural system. Hydroponic farming provides a solution to many of the detriments of our world’s current agricultural problems. 

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