Hydroponic Farming Bangladesh Perspective -Nadira Islam
The soilless farming technique which is gaining popularity these days is called hydroponic farming. People are bringing nature hands as per their needs. Hydroponic farming has come in its continuity. A lot of research in the world is being implemented bout hydroponics farming. The global hydroponics market is estimated to grow at a CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) of 6.7% during the 2017-2022 forecast periods. The hydroponics market value is anticipated to grow from USD XX million in 2016 to USD 31436.7 million by 2022. Leading countries in hydroponic technology are Netherland, Australia, France, England, Israel, Canada and USA. However, in developing countries like us, its spread is very low. Hydroponics is a technique of growing plantsin nutrient solutions with or without the use of aninert medium such as gravel, vermiculite, Rockwool, peat moss, saw dust, coir dust, coconut fibre, etc.to provide mechanical support.
Currently hydroponic cultivation is gaining popularity all over the world because of efficient resources management and quality food production. Soil based agriculture is now facing various challenges such as urbanization, natural disaster, climate change, indiscriminate use of chemicals and pesticides which is depleting the land fertility.Commercially Nutrition film technique has been used throughout the world for successful production of leafy as well as other vegetables with 70 to 90% savings of water. A proper well planned design of a hydroponic system reduces the risk of water and nutrients.
Carbon Dioxide + Water Glucose + Oxygen
6CO2 + 6H2O C6H12O6 + 6O2
What is needed for a plant to survive?
Water + Sunlight + Air + Anchorage (root system) + Nutrients
There is no mention of soil anywhere in there and that’s all the proof we need that plants can grow without it. Soilless gardening offers many advantages to the home gardener. The global hydroponics market is projected to reach USD 395.2 Million by 2020, growing at a CAGR (Compound annual growth rate) of 16.8% from 2015 to 2020. It is possible by hydroponic techniques to achieve better than normal farm production, immune to natural weather variations, as well as organic and more nutritive, in just about 5% of the space and 5% of the irrigation water. Hydroponic fodder production requires only about 2-3% of that water used under field conditions to produce the same amount of fodder.
l The economy of Bangladesh is mostly based on agriculture and vulnerable to climate change impacts. Geographically Bangladesh is the most climates induced vulnerable country in the world. These days, Bangladesh experiencing shorter winter season due to climatic reason which is liable for less food production.
l To be sustainable in food production, it is high time for Bangladesh to adapt hydroponic farming system. Due to rapid urbanization and industrialization not only the cultivable land is decreasing but also conventional agricultural practices causing a wide range of negative impacts on the environment.
l To sustainably feed the world’s growing population, methods for growing sufficient food have to evolve. Modification in growth medium is an alternative for sustainable production and to conserve fast depleting land and available water resources.
l It is possible to effectively grow high value, good quality vegetables under controlled hydroponic conditions using 85 to 90% less water than traditional soil based production.
Moreover, this is not a new practice in Bangladesh; it has traditional roots in practices dating back to the country’s forbearers, although the scientific component is a recent addition. According to their needs, people in different parts of Bangladesh have adopted, modified and named this practice differently (Asia-Pacific Environmental Innovation Strategies [APEIS] 2004; Islam and Atkins 2007; Irfanullah et al. 2007), such as baira, boor, dhap, gathua, gatoni, geto, kandi and vasomanchash and floating agriculture; all these names represent this same traditional cultivation practice that can be scientifically referred to as hydroponics. Actually, this practice is most successful in the coastal areas that are adjacent to the sea-bank areas, which remain submerged for long periods, especially in the monsoon season, as well as the wetland Haor Areas (flat lowland spreading across the middle of the Meghna River basin), which also remain flooded for long periods. Average per square meter cost for floating seedling cultivation found BDT (Bangladeshi taka) 281 and benefit was BDT 401. The net benefit of floating agriculture found BDT 120 and with a BCR of 1.43. Income from floating seedlings mainly utilized in winter vegetable cultivation (Kandi), mainstream agriculture, business, house development and land purchase etc.
According to a survey of hydroponic or floating farming, Fifty percent (50%) of the floating farmers mentioned various constraints regarding floating seedling production such as lack of government aid, higher interest from NGOs and lack of capital. Among the surveyed respondents, 64% agreed that floating cultivation is effective to combat climate change and 76% replied as beneficial to the environment. Although floating agriculture is an indigenous age-old practice in the South-western region of Bangladesh, it can be replicated with the help of subsidy and agro-technology.The technology was also appreciated by 54.2% farmers for its less labour requirement and lower maintenance cost. The major weakness that farmers faced was the high initial capital investment (stated by 87.5% farmers). They had to invest a big amount of money to acquire production trays, seeds, equipment and construct a production house. Another major weakness was availability and price of seed (according to 72.5% farmers). It was found that availability of seed was sparse in the market and so, respective price of seed was very high.
This time we will look at some differences between hydroponics farming and traditional farming, which helps to understand the benefits of hydroponic farming.
It is not right to expect some profit without providing some supply. It also has some disadvantage, although the amount of disadvantage is very small.
l Cost of initial investment
l Production is management, capital and labor intensive
l A high level of expertise is required.
l Daily attention can be necessary.
l Specially formulated, soluble nutrients must always be used.
l Pests and diseases remain a big risk.
l Some water born diseases can spread rapidly in recirculation system
Is Hydroponics food as healthy as traditional soil grown food??
l All of the nutrients supplied are readily available to the plant.
l Lower concentration of the nutrient can be used.
l The pH of the nutrient solution can be controlled to ensure optimal nutrient uptake.
l There are no losses of nutrient due to leaching.
l In hydroponics, nutrient control is easy. A nitrogen-rich grow formula. A phosphorous and potassium-rich bloom formula.
The bottom line is it depends on the nutrient solution the vegetable are grown in, but hydroponically grown vegetable can be just as nutrient as those grown in soil. Plants make their own vitamins, so vitamins levels tend to be similar whether a vegetable is grown hydroponically or in soil. As a result, bumper crops of delicious fruits and vegetables are growing every time.
In recent years hydroponics is seen as a promising strategy for growing different crops. To encourage commercial hydroponic farm, it is important to develop low cost hydroponic technologies that reduce dependence on human labour and lower overall startup and operational costs.Farm size, farming experience, training and extension contact had significant impact on adoption of hydroponic fodder productiontechnology by the farmers. The nutritional quality of fodder, high start up cost, medicinal value for human consumption and less digestive capability as the majorstrength, weakness, opportunity and threat of hydroponic fodder. Hydroponic fodderproduction technology is sustainable from the perspectives of energy, environment, economics and equity. The demand for green fodder is increasing on the account of diversified uses of agricultural residues. In order to meet this increasing demand for green fodder, the next best alternative is to produce hydroponics fodder to supplement the meagre pasture resources.
The author of this article is studying at the Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, Jatiya Kabi Kazi Nazrul Islam University, Trishal, Mymensingh