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Hydroponic Smart Farming – A Controlled Environment Agriculture Revolution in India

By : Shivendra Singh, Founder and CEO, Barton Breeze,

Added 03 May 2022

India, which is predominantly an agricultural country, needs innovations that can ensure lower time-to-market for commodities and carbon footprint, less food waste and through the year consistent production without inflation due to scarcity. Read on to know how Hydroponic farming can solve the farming challenges.

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This global pandemic has borne the vulnerability of our food sources. This is one of our best shots to hit reset on what and how we eat.

Scientists have been crying hoarse for decades that human actions push life on our shared planet towards disaster. Food production, transport, processing and waste are placing enormous pressure on environmental resources. By 2050, with the global population expected to reach nearly 10 billion, the requirement for food will be 60% higher than it is today. But, at the current rate of ecological degradation, there won’t be enough arable land left to meet this demand, according to the World Economic Forum. The result: a food security crisis and sustainability problem.

Did you know the problems India faces?

  • The average head of lettuce travels over 1,500 kilometres to get to your table
  • Increase in carbon-footprint
  1. India is importing more than 70 per cent exotic vegetables 
  • Ineffective conventional cultivation methodologies
  1. 70 per cent of the world’s freshwater is used for conventional agriculture 
  2. 70 per cent of water contamination comes from conventional agriculture.
  • Low per capita food production in India
  1. 1970 - 1.0 kg food per person per day (India’s population 56 cr)
  2. 2019 - 1.74 kg food per person per day (India’s population 130 cr)
  • Contamination and chemicals in India are 800 times more than the desired level 

How do we solve this?

Bring smart farming solutions like Hydroponic to grow any produce in any season. Agriculture in India has always been governed by variables – weather, soil and seed quality, water availability, skilled labour, etc.

Plus, historically, the increase in food production in India has always been at the expense of the water supply. 70 per cent of the world’s freshwater is used for agriculture. 70 per cent of water contamination comes from agriculture. This has to change.

Technology solution for India’s aid:

To cultivate more food with less space, we need new technology, new farming approaches, and processes. We believe that it is time to redesign the farming experiences.

The produce is healthier, fresh and more nutritious and has a longer shelf life, which helps in creating a healthier ecosystem. The technology helps save valuable water, land, and labour resources; moreover, the controlled growing system enables the production of food with no use of harmful chemicals and is also 100% residue-free.

Immunity: The New Buzzword.

Even those who talk about sustainability often use a different lens while consuming as individuals. Yet it’s what we put into our shopping bags and on our tables that matter. It has a ripple effect throughout the entire food chain. The devastating aftermath of the pandemic should be a catalyst for us to expand our taste, knowledge and awareness and contribute to building a more efficient and sustainable food system. We underestimate the power of good choices and individual behavioural change in creating a healthier food system. Let us align our food habits with the well-being of the planet. Let us ask where our food is coming from and make our choices with more awareness. Let us consume with a mind, a heart and a conscience. Only then will we go from being ‘junk foodies’ to genuine chemical-free food lovers.

Advantage Of Smart Farms:

Each smart farm is backed with the expertise of the Chief Technology Officer, a dedicated R&D team, plant scientists, microbiologists, mechanical engineers and design engineers.

  • Cloud Architecture and Data Centre

Agri-tech companies collect hundreds of data points at each of their farms to its Data Centre, which allows it to easily alter its indoor precision control for taste, texture, colour and nutrition. The data also helps the company adjust variables like temperature and humidity to optimise its crop yields.

  • Using Artificial Intelligence and IoT 

A software is developed where a device is clipped on the leaves and stem of each plant. The software is connected to the computer and informs the user when a particular plant needs more nutrients or minerals. Smart farms bring together farmers, design engineers and software engineers to grow sustainable, safer and better-tasting greens. Here’s how smart farming is changing the game in India.

  • 30x Faster Yield By Smart Farming:

State of the art climate-controlled smart farm uses vertically stacked growing beds, up to five levels high; they use less than 1 per cent of the space required by a conventional growing, a precious commodity in densely populated urban areas. 

  • 90 Per Cent Less Water

In our soil-less Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) farms, we can recycle and filter water for responsible resource use. As a plus, we don’t waste water from runoff or excessive evaporation from the soil. We save 90% water compared to conventional agriculture.

  • Fast Distribution

Compared to traditional farming, it takes just 25 days to grow from seed to harvest, which averages 45-60 days. Since most farms are within the city limits, the average distribution time from harvest to table in 60 minutes, cutting down greenhouse gas-emitting travel time. The CEA farms themselves act like in-built cold storage for plants.

  • Price Point

Because one can grow to produce on our indoor farms 365 days a year, we can get consistent pricing no matter the season.

  • 365 Days – Grow All Year Around

Our growing season lasts throughout the year. Through storms or sunshine, winter or summer, Hydroponically grown greens can thrive in any area of the world, reducing climate change. This also translates into less food waste on farms and more fresh produce.

  • Cloud-Based Artificial Intelligence

With cloud-based data analytics and farm output AI software, farmers can get their farm and production details sitting in the comfort of their homes or office. It measures important indicators that help crop planning and connects the food security ecosystem.

Food production in India needs to be increased by 70 per cent in the next 30 years, which would be impossible to achieve if we don’t bring technology to agriculture. The good thing is that technology will allow us to increase performance and lower costs simultaneously. There will be a point where vertical farming costs will keep going down and will match with the traditional agriculture costs.

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