- 15 Apr 2019
- 3 min read
As per a data from Chennai-based non-profit organisation Green Acres Foundation, around 50,000 acres are estimated to be under hydroponic production around the world.
- It is a method of growing plants without soil in which plants get their nutrients from a mineral solution.
- The method is suitable for growing greens and herbs as they don’t have deep roots. Tomatoes and strawberries are other popular items.
- The initial costs of setting up a hydroponic farm is very high.
- A physical outer structure is required to grow the plants. This can be trays or tubes, which are typically made of food-grade plastic. The cost of this is typically Rs. 50,000-75,000 for 1,000 sq ft.
- High costs involved in plumbing system and automation such as sensors, controller, water pump etc.
- Money paid to consultants for help and guidance.
- Cost involved in maintaining ambient temperature and moisture
- Depending on the type of enclosure, costs can vary from ₹25,000 to ₹1.5 lakh.
- In some cases, LED lights are used to mimic sunlight, this further increases the cost.
- Cost from Water
- If water of an area has dissolved minerals or is hard, purification devices will be needed to make it usable, thus adding to the costs.
- In-Process Costs
- Power costs due to regular water supply , LED lights and climate control.
- Plants also require nutrient feed from time to time which is either prepared at home or purchased from manufacturers.
- The method requires less labour, and yields are much higher as plants grow faster (due to direct access to required nutrients) compared with regular farms.
- The method uses comparatively less water i.e. only about 20% of the water that is used in the conventional methods.
- The most efficient aspect of hydroponics is that it can be even applied in a limited space. There are cases where 6,000 plants have been grown in 80 sq ft space. This has been done by stacking plants vertically, as the method is not limited by the ground area.
- Products like herbs and lettuce make this method viable as well as profitable.