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Why Hydroponic Farms are Trending in India?

Hydroponics is slowly gaining popularity in India and attracting more and more farmers.

Pronami Chetia
hydroponics farming

Hydroponics is slowly gaining popularity in India and attracting more and more farmers. Basically, hydroponics is a type of horticulture and a subset of hydro culture, which is a method of growing plants, usually crops, without soil, by using mineral nutrient solutions in an aqueous solvent. 

Hydroponic farming, which is soil-less, water-based farming operations, may even be done in a tiny space such as a balcony. Instead of employing soil for plant nourishment, crops are supplied nutrient-rich water, which eliminates much of the baggage associated with soil-based approaches.

Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants in a nutrient-rich solution, skipping the soil. “It has been practiced for centuries, so it is not a new technology," points out Akhila Vijayaraghavan, the founder-director of Coimbatore’s Parna Farms, adding the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are believed to have been hydroponically grown. “The Aztecs created vast hydroponic systems using rafts called chinampas," she says. 

The film piqued Gopal’s interest, and he began reading about the method to grow plants without soil. “We started working with hydroponics as a project in 2012. At that time, we didn’t know much about the plight of farmers and how a technology like this could add value," said Gopal. The idea was to create awareness among the right audience and sell “through prototypes and hobby kits." 

Hydroponics, a water-saving method of growing pesticide-free produce on rooftops and terraces, is becoming popular among urban farmers. According to studies, India's hydroponics market will develop at a compound annual growth rate of 13.53 percent between 2020 and 2027.

What is Hydroponics? 

Hydroponics is a type of hydroculture in which plants are cultivated without soil using a water solvent containing mineral and fertilizer solutions. Terrestrial plants can be grown only with their roots, with the roots exposed to the nutritive liquid, or with the roots physically supported by a media such as gravel.

Plants also grow through a process known as photosynthesis, in which plants use sunlight and a substance found inside their leaves known as chlorophyll to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen, as seen in reaction.

6CO2 + 6H2O → C6H12O6(Glucose)+ 6O2 

The nutrients we use in hydroponic systems may come from different sources, such as  fish excrement, duck manure, or chemical fertilizers. 

  • Advantages of Hydroponics 

  1. Plantation without soil

We can grow plants in places where the land is limited, doesn't exist, or is contaminated. In early time period , Hydroponics was successfully technique used to supply fresh vegetables for troops in Wake Island. It has been considered as the future farming to grow foods for astronauts in the space by NASA. 

  1. Better use of space and location

All of the plants' requirements are met and managed in a system, so you may grow plants in a small apartment, bedrooms, or kitchen as long as you have some space.
Plant roots normally stretch and spread out in search of food and oxygen in the soil, but in Hydroponics, roots are immersed in a tank full of oxygenated nutrient solution and are in direct contact with vital minerals. This means you can grow your plants closer together, saving you a lot of space.

  1. Climate control

Hydroponic farmers have complete control over the environment, including climate, temperature, humidity, light, and air composition. That is, you can grow foods throughout the year, regardless of the season. Farmers can increase their profits by planting crops at the right time.

  1. Water saving

Because water is recirculated in this method, plants produced hydroponically can use 10% less water than plants grown in the field. Plants will absorb the necessary water, while run-off water will be collected and returned to the system. In this system, water loss will only occur through evaporation and system leaks.

  1. Use of nutrients

In this technique, you have complete control over the nutrients (foods) that plants require. Before planting, farmers can determine what the plants require, as well as the quantity of nutrients required at certain stages and the proportion at which they should be blended with water.

  1. Better growth rate

Is it true that hydroponic plants grow quicker than soil plants? Yes, since you can control environmental factors that promote plant growth, such as temperature, lighting, moisture, and, most importantly, nutrition. When plants are positioned in suitable settings, nutrients are supplied in appropriate quantities and make direct touch with the root systems. As a result, plants do not waste vital energy searching for diluted nutrients in the soil, instead focusing solely on growth.

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