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UAS-Bengaluru Plans to Promote Hydroponics in Urban & Peri-Urban Areas

Plants are grown hydroponically, which means without soil. Hydroponic plants are nourished with nutrient-rich solutions, oxygen, and water while being planted in inert growing media. This system encourages quick development, greater yields, and superior quality.

Shivam Dwivedi
Hydroponics method does not require soil, but plants must still receive the proper amounts of water and plant nutrients.
Hydroponics method does not require soil, but plants must still receive the proper amounts of water and plant nutrients.

The University of Agricultural Sciences-Bengaluru, which has established the largest multi-model hydroponics unit in the State, plans to greatly popularise this soilless cultivation technique through training programmes. Beginning in December, it will offer open enrollment training programmes in a variety of hydroponics models.

A one-acre hydroponics unit with eight different models has been set up by the university, which has been working on various hydroponics models for the past year as part of a project. This is reportedly the largest hydroponics unit in terms of the number of models, despite the fact that a few private companies have been able to build even larger hydroponics units.

The hydroponics method does not require soil, but plants must still receive the proper amounts of water and plant nutrients. The current Krishi Mela has this system on display.

According to Nagaraj Hullur, a research associate from UAS-B, the university primarily recommends all hydroponics models for people who live in urban and peri-urban areas. He stated, "This is primarily for those who have a smaller amount of land but are willing to engage in intensive cultivation," noting that by using a vertical farming technique inside of polyhouses, it is possible to increase the yield from hydroponics.

However, compared to traditional cultivation techniques, this type of cultivation has much higher initial and ongoing costs. However, Nagaraj claims that because the yields would be higher, the entire investment could be recouped in about four years.

For those who want to engage in urban horticulture, such as terrace farming or cultivation in the porticos of apartments primarily for the purpose of growing vegetables and greens, the university is also planning to develop its own model structures and methods. According to Nagaraj, "We are promoting hydroponic cultivation of high-value vegetables, including leafy vegetables."

One of the models that the university is promoting is aquaponics, where hydroponics and fish rearing are both done in a tank. Fish tank waste would flow through the hydroponics system and serve as plant nutrients. Since no chemicals, such as pesticides or fertilisers, would be used, the aquaponics method is being marketed as organic. In this way, leafy vegetables are encouraged.

A different model that is on display is the Dutch Bucket System, in which each plant would receive nutrients via drip irrigation. This method encourages the cultivation of vegetables like tomato, pumpkin, beans, cucumber, broccoli, bottle gourd, and capsicum. Additionally, it is experimenting with growing dragon fruit.

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