The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that by 2050, agriculture production must increase by 70 per cent to feed the ever-increasing population. India will be one of the world’s top food importers if we do not try out every futuristic technology that can increase productivity by using less water and less or no soil, apart from reducing health risks to near zero.
The sustainable alternative farming practices play a vital role in maintaining biodiversity, regulating climate change and energy use, conserving ecosystem services, optimizing productivity and ensuring food security. Rising demand for fresh and pesticide-free horticultural produce for perennially-swelling urban population all over the world is resulting in the introduction of new farming techniques. These include soil-less techniques such as Hydroponics, Aeroponics and Aquaponics that will redefine commercial agriculture.
Plants grow through a process called photosynthesis, in which they use sunlight and chlorophyll (green pigment in the leaves) to convert carbon dioxide (taken from the air) and water (absorbed through the roots) into glucose (a type of sugar) and oxygen is released. There’s no mention of “soil” anywhere. What they do need is water and nutrients, both easily obtained from soil. But if they can get these things somewhere else—say, by standing with their roots in a nutrient-rich solution—they can do without soil altogether. That’s the basic principle behind hydroponics.
Access to residue free, quality produce , utilisation of dead unusable urban spaces like basements and subways, open urban spaces like terraces, backyards, carbon footprint due to long distance transport, water conservation , simple automated systems on distant control, automation, year long production, etc are some of the things possible with hydroponics.
Having established ourselves in the plant nutrition sector for the last 5 decades, it is imperative that we look at new age technologies that are going to determine the future of growing. Hydroponics or Soilless cultivation is fast gaining momentum as an alternative farming technique to circumvent all disadvantages and drawbacks of soil growing.
Aries has forayed into the field of hydroponics recently and have set up a 5000 sq.ft semi-automated demo polyhouse to grow hydroponically and also to design and test hydroponic nutrients on the rooftop. We are actively experimenting with NFT systems; both flat beds and A frames, Dutch Buckets, aggregate systems, microgreens , etc .and have successfully harvested basil, pok choi, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, kale , etc.