Can you imagine being able to plant without soil? Landless? This is possible thanks to hydroponics.
Hydroponics is a method that replaces the agricultural soil with mineral solutions. It is a water solution of essential chemicals for a plant. Almost every plant can grow without soil, by only absorbing the necessary nutrients for their development through enriched water.
Among its main benefits are a considerable saving water (plants can grow with 80% less water), the absence of pathogens produced by the ground, a better use of space and light, and the ability to produce during all year.
Although there is no evidence, it is thought that hydroponics could have begun in the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Can we revolutionize the world by returning to the origins of civilization?
Hydroponics can revolutionize agriculture in areas with adverse conditions. Well combined with a greenhouse system, it can produce higher results than could be achieved in a traditional agricultural field.
It was in the mid-nineteenth century when the Germans Knop Sach managed to grow plants in a nutrient solution – what they called “Nutriculture”. Since then they have tried various methods of cultivation where “water works”. This has resulted into different hydroponics techniques.
There are several projects in Latin America that try to bring agriculture to the most disadvantaged.
This is the case of the Mexican company Hidroponia Amar, which was born with the aim of providing a self-employment tool for poor people. For years they had taught training courses and advised on the construction of greenhouses. Seeing that the fruits started to be exported to the United States, Hidroponia Amar decided to take a step forward. Today it has 25 franchises.
In Panama, where storms, flooding, displacements and drought aren’t uncommon, Urban Farms (UF) “develops innovative, high-tech and sustainable solutions to food supply challenges facing the world’s growing population.” With its advanced technology systems, UF can control the entire process from seed to collection at three weeks, monitor temperature, supply nutrients, etc.
On the other side of the world we find the Kenyan entrepreneur Peter Chege; the founder and CEO of Hydroponics Kenya.
What makes Hydroponics Kenya special is the absence of energy. Hydroponics Kenya teaches people how to farm; without climate control nor intensive energy usage. Mr Chege has democratized hydroponics by moving it to simple huts without electricity.
Could the future of agriculture and Africa be in Peter Chege hands?