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India: University in Bengaluru to promote hydroponic farming in urban areas

The University of Agricultural Sciences-Bengaluru, which has set up the State’s biggest multi-model hydroponics unit, is set to popularise this method of soilless cultivation in a big way through training programs. It will launch free training courses in various hydroponics models for the general public in December.

The varsity, which has been focusing on various models of hydroponics for the last year through a project, has set up a one-acre hydroponics unit with eight different models. Though a few private firms have managed to set up even bigger hydroponics units, this is said to be the biggest in terms of multi-models.

Nagaraj Hullur, a research associate from UAS-B, said the university is mainly proposing all the models of hydroponics for those in urban and peri-urban areas. “This is mainly for those who have a lesser quantum of the land but are ready to take up intensive cultivation,” he said while pointing out that it is possible to get more yield through hydroponics if one adopts a vertical farming method within polyhouses.

However, the initial investment, as well as maintenance costs for this kind of cultivation, are much higher than the conventional cultivation methods. But Mr. Nagaraj says it is possible to recover the entire investment in about four years as the yields would be higher.

One model on display is Dutch Bucket System, where nutrients would be supplied to each plant through a drip irrigation system. The cultivation of vegetables like tomato, pumpkin, beans, cucumber, broccoli, bottle gourd, and capsicum is being promoted under this method. It is also experimenting with the cultivation of dragon fruit.

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