♦ Brij Kishore Singh
Population has reached to an alarming level in India, farm income is dwindling, farmers are forced to suicide due to farm distress and outstanding bank loans. Land availability for farming activities is decreasing day by day due to rapid urbanization and growth of industries. Still agriculture in our country is depending mostly on weather and farmers often face drought, flood, and various natural and biotic disaster, which ruins there capital and future. Land productivity has decreased across farm coverage area due to uncontrolled use of inorganic fertilizer and pesticides.
Urbanites are forced to consume toxic vegetables and foods, which has developed as a major health hazard causing increased risk of deadly disease like cancer. In the aforesaid environmental degradation, it becomes duty of intelligence social groups and organizations to undertake innovative steps like developing small and large scale hydroponics farming in urban households, greenhouses to accelerate organic farming and farm income.
To introduce hydroponics, first we need to disseminate the knowledge of hydroponics system among educated urban residents. Urban residents can use their open space, garden, backyard and rooftop for cultivating vegetables, herb sand fruits through hydroponics system.
Hydroponics is a subset of Hydro culture, where water with soluble nutrients and minerals are used for cultivating plants instead of soil. This technology is very simple to use on small as well as large scale. To start up we can develop 5-10 bucket leafy/vegetables farming on rooftop, where sun rays are in abundance. For small units once we need interconnected 5-10 buckets, a small pump with electric connection, seedlings, net cups, Coconut coins and fiber and nutrients. Every input is easily available in market, on Amazon marketplace.
Today many companies in India are marketing the hydroponics system through consultancy, sale and turnkey project for development of hydroponics farming on small and large scale. But it can be developed on its own initiative. You can grow tomato, cucumber, lettuce, bean, mint, broccoli, various leafy vegetables and scores of herbs through hydroponics. Cultivation through hydroponics system is fully organic and once after established setup, it requires little effort to upkeep and maintains growth of plants.
Productivity and yield is dramatically very high in case of, especially vertical hydroponics farming in comparison to traditional soil farming. Very little amount of water you need for circulation of water with controlled nutrients to root set up of different plants at different vertical level. 90 percent water can be saved through hydroponics farming. Per plant yield may be at least 10 times more in bucket system or in vertical hydroponics farming system. Hydroponics system that allows growing of plants in a vertical fashion is known as vertical hydroponics.
It works by using conventional hydroponics techniques in a vertical gravity led system. The 31 years old founder of Green Rush Organics and hydroponics farming consultancy Acqua Farms grows over 600 plants in a limited 80 sq. ft. Space. He produces exotic Italian Basil, cairom, (Aijwan), Spinach, Lettuce, Kale, and a host of leafy greens and herbs. He grows them all using planters made of PVC pipes. Today market demand for organic farm products are very high globally and price realization is of higher proportion than traditional farm products.
Still hydroponics market in India is around some thousands dollar, but global hydroponics market is expected to reach around US Dollar 16 Billion, as per recently published report by Bloomberg. Some startup companies in India are providing consultancy on hydroponics farming for home and commercial farming. These companies also provide technology and infrastructure for establishment of aqua farming. Some of these companies are Future Farms, Chennai, Acqua Farms, Chennai, Let cetra Agritech, Goa, Bit Mantis Innovations, Bengaluru, Urban Kissan, Hyderabad, Ela Sustainable Solutions, Cochin, Junga Fresh Green, HP, and Pindfresh, Chandigarh. Hydroponics farming can be started from Rs. 5000 and technological set up can be started for commercial hydroponics from 1-5 Lakhs.
Bihar Government is already providing 50 percent Subsidy on organic farming to even urbanites for terrace farming and rooftop farming on setup infrastructural cost. Let’s take a pledge to grow United, grow organic and develop society and economy together.