Hydroponics: An innovative method for agriculture showcased
Chennai, January 25, 2019: “Using hydroponics technology is as easy as making a cup of tea”, said Mr Pradeep Thaker, Managing Director, Thaker AgroTek, at a seminar held in M S Swaminathan Research Foundation on January 25, 2019.
Hydroponics is defined as a method of growing plants without soil and using water as the medium of providing nutrients. Using the analogy of making tea and how the concentration of the several ingredients (i.e. water, tea leaves, milk and sugar) used varies across India, Mr Thaker explained how different plants require different levels of nutrients and at different stages of growth and how hydroponics could enable this. “Plants source their nutrients just like the inventories needed for manufacture of a car – everything is required in just the right proportion”.
Increasing population and decreasing availability of land are the two deterrents to growing food. In this context he said, “Soil is not necessary to grow plants”, and explained how the hydroponics technology has great relevance in desert or hilly areas. In fact, hydroponics can be applied anywhere. “Hydroponics method of growing plants can be implemented with even 1 sq feet of land”, he pointed out.
One of the advantages of hydroponics is that it eliminates the need for weedicides and pesticides, and the area can be controlled by the farmers. Due to the flexibility of the technology, they could also be used to create ‘vertical or living walls’ of plants. He also explained many of the different variations of this technology, for e.g. aeroponics, which uses the air to supply nutrients. The main disadvantage with hydroponics is that water borne diseases could spread to all plants easily because of recirculation of water.
He also spoke about how this technology could help us grow exotic fruits and vegetables (e.g. the dragon fruit) in India itself at a much lower price rather than importing at a higher cost. As part of his talk, Mr. Thaker also showed a few samples of plants he had grown.Scientists, researchers, professionals from other organizations, media and members of the public attended this seminar.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.