Encouraging farmers to adopt new hydroponic farming techniques and technologies
India’s progress in economic and human development is one of the most significant global achievements of recent times. Between 2005 and 2010, India’s share of global gross domestic product (GDP) increased from 1.8 to 2.7 percent. Since 2005, 137 million people were lifted out of poverty (using the national poverty line as a metric), including 85 million who exited poverty in 2010-12. While India has made significant progress in reducing absolute poverty, it is still home to 270 million poor people who depend on agricultural activities for their livelihoods.
Agriculture contributes 18% to the Indian GDP and provides employment to approximately 58% of the workforce of the country. Per the Indian Council for Agricultural Research Vision 2030 document, the demand for food grains is projected to increase from 192 million tons in 2000 to 345 million tonnes in 2030. Hence, over 20 years, production of food grains needs to increase at the rate of 5.5 million tonnes annually.
The growth of the agricultural sector has been impacted by stressed natural resources, poor rural infrastructure, inadequate technology, limited access to credit, underdeveloped extension and marketing services, climate change, and insufficient agricultural planning at the local level. Hence India, and its agricultural community, needs to adopt newer methods and better technology to be able to strive towards greater self-reliance.
A hydroponics-based facility will be set up at Junga, Shimla district, Himachal Pradesh, in a farm area of 7 acres with a net hydroponics greenhouse area of 3 acres, a hi-tech automated nursery supplementing the greenhouses along with ancillary infrastructure. Vegetables and herbs for commercial sale will be grown in the greenhouse, while the nursery will generate high-quality planting material. Crops which can be produced in such an environment include iceberg lettuce, coloured capsicum, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes.
A training program for the local population will enable the local area farmers to start adopting new technology and the latest farming techniques.
Once the project is successfully implemented, it will demonstrate how to (i) improve yields from limited areas of land; (ii) provide small farmers the opportunity to generate higher revenues and improve their livelihood; (iii) insulate small farmers from problems caused by weather, rainfall, pest and insect infestation (thus improving crop yields and quality of produce); (iv) decrease the need for water by 70% and fertilizers by 30% (thus conserving fresh water resources); and (v) generate demonstration effects aimed at motivating commercial banks to increase lending to farmers for hydroponics.
Learn more about technical assistance providers for the project here.