Hydroponics: A Panacea to Farming in Urban Areas
doubt, urbanization has numerous benefits, but it also has some challenges. One
of which is the availability of land for cultivation of crops. This implies
that the food consumed by urban area residents are brought in from other parts
of the country (mostly rural areas). Apart from the high cost, the safety of
the food is also a significant concern. Sparse road networks and lack of
refrigerating vans expose the product to decay before getting to the urban
areas. These said. It is imperative that we find an alternative to food
production in urban areas. A feasible option is hydroponics.
simply refers to growing plants without soil i.e., soilless farming. It is okay
if you think this is some futuristic concept. Surprisingly, hydroponics has
been in existence since around 7 B.C. Although, its popularity, usage, and
seemingly mass adoption is quite recent.
soil provides the plant with water and nutrients. Also, it fastens the roots of
plants. Any medium that can provide these features can successfully replace the
soil. In a hydroponics farm, plants are supplied with complete nutrient formula
and a medium to fasten their roots.
recent popularity of hydroponics is not far-fetched. Researchers have
discovered the several benefits of hydroponics.
Benefits of Hydroponics
following are some of the benefits (advantages) of hydroponics.
• No soil is needed. Crops can be grown in
areas with limited land and contaminated lands. Crops can also be grown in
places where there is no land at all.
• Maximize space and location. You can grow
plants in your small apartments or garden. You can plant your crops with little
to no spacing, thereby saving spaces.
• Control over the climate. As a hydroponic
farmer, you have complete control over temperature, the composition of the air,
light, and humidity. You do not need to wait for planting seasons.
• It conserves water. Hydroponics plants
utilize 10 % of water compared to plants grown on soil.
• Effective use of nutrients. Hydroponics
farmer has absolute (100 %) control of the nutrients required by their plants.
There is no loss of nutrients as they are conserved in the tank.
• Controlled pH of the solution. Every single
mineral is confined in the water. This implies you can easily measure and
adjust the pH for optimal nutrients intake of the plants.
• Rapid growth rate. You harvest your plants
on time since you are in absolute control over everything.
• Zero weed. Weeds are associated with soil.
Hydroponics does not use soil. This means that hydroponics is free of weed.
• Fewer pests and diseases. Hydroponics
plants are grown in a controlled environment; thus, they are not susceptible to
diseases and pests.
Safer foods. Since your plants are
grown in a controlled area and are not vulnerable to weeds, pests, and
diseases, there will be little or no use of chemicals. This aids the growth of
cleaner and healthier foods.
• Time and energy are conserved. Apart from
the energy and time saved during pre-planting and planting processes, you save
lesser time because hydroponics plant grows on time.
Disadvantages of Hydroponics
like every vital thing, hydroponics has some downsides. However, adequate
planning and experience can help overcome these downsides.
• Expertise and experience. Various equipment
and devices are used. They all require knowledge. If they are not properly
handled, you might ruin the whole process.
• Stable power supply. It is no longer news
that power supply in Nigeria is epileptic. If there is no backup plan for
electricity, the plants will dry up real quick.
Capital Intensive. Initially, you spend money to purchase equipment for
installation. Subsequently, you will spend money on nutrients and electricity.
• Time and commitment. Hydroponics requires
adequate, time, commitment, and dedication. You cannot afford not to check your
hydroponics farm for a week.
what you have read so far, it is obvious that the pros of hydroponics outweighs
it cons. To get cheap and safe foods in urban areas, hydroponics is the
hope you enjoyed this blog post. Next week, we will look at the types of
hydroponic system as well as how to set up a hydroponic farm in Nigeria.
your comments and questions below. We will be glad to answer.