Ultra-Modern Farming System “HYDROPONICS”

Hydroponic farming is an emerging trend in the field of agriculture
Hydroponic farming is an emerging trend in the field of agriculture

Hydroponics is a ‘soil-less farming’ which replaces the traditional gravel filled bed with the nutrient rich water for farming. It is a revolutionary technique in agriculture in which plant roots grows in a liquid nutrient solution or inside different material such as rockwool and vermiculite to support the roots of plants. The liquid nutrient solution is a mixture of all the essential nutrients required for the growth of plants.

Changing climatic conditions, urbanization and enormously increasing population are the major factors that are decreasing the arable land area for cultivation. Hydroponic farming is a step towards the food production from lesser space using less resources such as water. It is a ‘water-smart solution’ for the urban farmers because now they can grow pesticides-free food on terraces.

History: Babylonians originated the hydroponics around 600 B.C. The Hanging Garden of Babylon is the first known example of soil-less growth of plants. After that in 1100 B.C. The Azetec Indians created the floating gardens ‘Chinampas’ which had a strong combination of roots and lashes, laden with sediment from lake-bottoms, providing nutrients to the crops and plantations. The word ‘hydroponics’ is composed of two different Greek words called as ‘hydro’ meaning water and ‘ponos’ meaning labour. Dr. William Frederick Gericke (father of hydroponics) used this term for the first time in 1937.

Global vs India status: Hydroponic farming is an emerging trend in the field of agriculture as the research shows that the global hydroponics market is expected to reach $17.9 billion by 2026 (Zachariah, 2021). In U.S. and Canada 90 per cent of the lettuce and tomato are being produced using hydroponics farming. But India is at its nascent stage, various initiatives are being taken for its advancement. To make hydroponics more popular, approachable and economical many startups such as Acqua Farms, Chennai, Letcetra Agritech, Goa, BitMantis Innovation, Bengaluru, Urban Kisssan, Hyderabad, Future Frams, Chennai and Pinfresh, Chandigarh etc. have been launched in India. India’s hydroponics market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 13.53% between 2020 and 2027 (Zachariah, 2021).

Why hydroponics??

Looking at the scenario of changing climatic pattern, soil degradation, urbanisation, population explosion and global warming, all these factors are making the soil-based cultivation difficult. Thus, hydroponics technique is need of the hour. Hydroponics is a trending technique which can create hyper-local food system. It allows growers to produce food anywhere, anytime with fewer resources in limited space to net higher yield. Since roots are directly bathed in nutrient solution, soil-less plants mature up to 25 per cent more quickly than the plants grown in soil. Rate of evaporation is very less in this closed system and water is reused by the plants after filtration, repopulation with nutrients; thus, it uses up to 98 per cent less water than the traditional method.

Commercial Hydroponics farming system in India:

  • Aeroponics: In this system, plant roots are suspended in the aerosol mist, from which they draw the nutrition and oxygen. This system is challenging to manage but is more economical in terms of nutrient and water use.

  • NFT System: “Nutrient Film Technique” uses gully channels through which nutrient solution keep flowing, and grow trays containing plants placed on these gully channels roots of which are dangled into the nutrient solution.

  • DWC/Raft System: In this plant roots are suspended into the static nutrient solution. This solution is replaced fater every 5-10 days.

  • Dutch Bucket System: Plants like tomato and cucumber are grown in buckets. Bucket have growing media like vermiculite to support the growing plants.

  • Ebb/ Flood and Drain System: Periodic flooding and draining of nutrient solutions is practised in this method. When the water and nutrient flows over the plant roots cannd as flood phase and when the water drain back to the reservoir it is called as drain phase.

Crops that can be produced in Hydroponic farming:


Favourable Temperature

Maintain pH

Favourable Hydroponic System

Vegetables and fruits




Wick system or Ebb

Lettuce, Radish, Spinach etc. (shallow root crops)



NFT, Deep water culture (DWC) and Aeroponics


Cool -Warm






Drip system, Dutch bucket system, large Ebb and flow system




Wick system or Ebb




NFT (Transplanting is recommended)



Warm to hot






NFT/ Drip system (11 hrs of light is recommended)





Experienced Hydroponics Gardner can also grow plants like tobacco, large melons, pumpkins, sunflower etc.

Government scheme for promoting the Hydroponic Farming in India:

Govt. provides financial assistant for hydroponic project under the scheme name “Development of Commercial Horticulture through Production and Post-Harvest Management” in following way:

Credit linked back-ended subsidy @ 20% of the total project cost limited to Rs 25 lakh per project in general area and Rs 30.00 lakh in NE Region, Hilly and Scheduled areas. However, for capital intensive and high value crops under protected cultivation and open air cultivation of date palm, olive and saffron subsidy will be @ 25% of project cost with ceiling of Rs.50 lakh (33% of project cost with ceiling of Rs.60 lakh for scheduled and hilly areas) (National Horticulture Board) (nhb.gov.in)

Advantages of Hydroponics farming:

  • High-tech Hydroponics farms allows low land requirement, less water consumption, pesticide free, no real dependency on weather for the production of crops.

  • High yield can be achieved from a limited area of land with no wastage of resources

  • It is a controlled climate system thus crops can be grown all-round the year

  • 80-90 per cent lower water utilisation than traditional method for the production of crop

  • It can supply ultra-fresh vegetables and fruits by maintaining a hydroponic garden on terraces or even behind the restaurant. It shortens the supply chain between the food produces and consumers

Disadvantages that hinder the development of an efficient hydroponic farming system:

  • Initial investment is very large i.e., from 30 lakhs to 4 crores.

  • Electricity cost increases due to high energy cost pumps and lightening operations

  • Technical knowledge expertise is required with chemical and plant protection background

  • Planting of potato, carrot, turnips etc. known as deep rooted crops are not recommended for beginners because it requires a lot of care.


Natural disasters such as flood, drought, erosion etc. and man-made reasons such as deforestation, urbanisation and industrialisation creating a huge pressure for food production from a limited area of arable land. In addition, use of high doses of chemicals and pesticides which contaminate the ground water, decreases the soil fertility, and nutritional quality of food. Therefore, to combat all such problems and produce healthy food farmers need to adopt an extremely clean cultivation practice called as “HYDROPONICS” which can be practise as a hobby or as a commercial agriculture practice. Besides, it can improve the lifestyle of people and enhances the economic growth of country.


Preeti Zachariah (2021). Why hydroponic farms are trending. www.livemint.com

13 best easiest plants (vegetable, herbs and fruits) that can be hydroponically grown (2022). www.trees.com

Development of Commercial Horticulture through Production and Post-Harvest Management. www.nhb.gov.in

Hydroponics soil-less vegetable farm. https://image.shutterstock.com

Jamie, 2021. NFT Hydroponics: Basics, Setup, Pros/Cons, FAQ. www.whyfarmit.com

How to grow hydroponic tomatoes. www.hitechgardening.com


1. Kiran*, PhD Scholar, Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, CCSHAU, Hisar *mehrakiran.0331@gmail.com
2. Somveer Nimbal, Assistant Scientist, Department of Genetics and Plant Breeding, CCSHAU, Hisar snimbal@gmail.com
3. M. C. Kamboj, Assistant Scientist, Regional Research Station, Ucchani, CCS HAU, Hisar kambojmeher@gmail.com

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