Less fertile soil and less of water ?

Keep Calm and Hydroponics On !!

According to the U.N. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, approximately 40% of the world’s agricultural land is seriously degraded and about 10 million hectares of cropland are lost every year reducing the land available for food production.

Global food production has been severely affected due to soil erosion caused by agricultural activities. Eventually this may lead to a serious food crisis with an estimated 870 million people undernourished due to a lack of food or a lack of access to food according to Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations (FAO) With the current world population crossing 7 billion mark and expected to reach 9.3 billion by 2050, demand for food will be extremely huge. To meet these ever increasing demands for food we must develop a sustainable and promising system to grow healthy food crops with improved productivity and that’s where Hydroponics comes into picture.

‘Have you ever imagined growing plants without any soil? No? Well its happening and its happening beyond our imagination..! It is happening in the form of hydroponics..

What is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics, in a nutshell can simply be defined as the technique of growing plants using just nutrients and water and most importantly without any soil. It all comes down to a simple logic that ‘If you provide the plants exactly what they need, when they need and in an amount they need, you can grow plants as healthy as you grow them in soil.All it takes for a normal plant growth is well balanced mixture of major elements, minerals and other necessary nutrients. Soil just acts as holding medium for all essential nutrients providing support for plant structure. Moreover, with the soil, things become more complicated as the plants need to spend a great deal of energy on finding all the essential nutrients and water for their growth which in turn affects their yield.

Why Hydroponics?

  • Soil-less technique hence no soil borne diseases and weeds.
  • Direct availability of essential nutrients to the roots.
  • Precise control over plant nutrient availability leading to faster growth, better quality and more frequent harvests.
  • Requires less water, less space, fewer fertilizer, better pest management and rapid growth cycle.

For any hydroponic system, a perfectly balanced nutrient solution and a suitable growth medium are the two most vital elements responsible for vegetative plant growth and productivity. There are various types of hydroponic systems which are being used worldwide including Wick system, Water culture, Flood and drain, Drip system, NFT (Nutrient Flow Technique) and aeroponics which differ in their complexity as well as working mechanism.

Globally, the art of hydroponics is being practiced in many developed countries at the various scales ranging from small house hold gardens to huge multilevel hydroponic farms spread over hundreds of acres. Agriculturally advanced countries like USA and Canada have adopted this technique long time back and are cultivating many fruits, vegetables and herbs like tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, eggplants, thyme and basil to name a few.

In a country like Saudi Arabia which imports more than 95% of their fresh fruits and vegetables and where arable land and fresh water supply is limited, this technique is really doing wonders with many agriculture giants in Middle East spending millions of dollars to build hydroponic farms expanding over thousands of acres.

With ever growing global population, food shortages and rapidly rising prices, hydroponics can be seen as viable and highly secure of source of food and can help a nation to be self- sufficient in its food produce.

Our Tryst with Hydroponics…

At Aarialife, we are also committed to develop a sustainable and cost effective hydroponic technique for growing wide range of crops. Being in its nascent stage, currently we are focused on building a simple system to grow animal fodder hydroponically using common grains like maize and wheat. It requires a little space to grow and we can grow it in a plastic tray of any size we want. Moreover we can grow it any time we want, even in summer! Just few sprinkles of water a day and it grows like a normal crop planted in soil. It hardly takes 8-12 days to grow and then all you have to do is pull the fodder out of the tray, cut it into pieces and feed it to cattle. Its that simple! This further improves the fat content of milk in animals like cows and buffaloes.

Sneak peek at our ‘Hydroponic’ efforts :

  • MZ5: Maize growth at Day 5
  • MZ8: Maize growth at Day 8
  • MZ10: Maize growth at Day 10
  • MZ12: Maize growth at Day 12
  • WT8: Wheat growth at Day 8
  • WT14: Wheat growth at Day 14

Stay tuned for more interesting updates on ‘Hydroponics’ front.