Advanced hydroponics and aeroponics technologies can address the problems of contamination in fresh vegetables, besides assuring greater output to feed increasing population in the country, said a greenhouse facility builder on Friday.
Sanjay Sudan, Director of Saveer Biotech, said green houses with such facilities allow hygienic, safe vegetable cultivation, which is on demand these days, as excessive use of fertilisers, pesticides are leading to several health hazards.
"Vegetables cultivated at controlled environment facilities are healthy and safe since they are grown with optimum use of nutrients, fixed temperature and without outside contamination," Sudan said, during a media visit to his lab-cum-company in Greater Noida.
In hydroponics, plants are grown in soil-less medium, i.e. water, which is claimed to give better output compared to the conventional farming, while in aeroponics, air in closed chambers is used.
"Any vegetable can be grown anywhere irrespective of geological and climatic conditions," Sudan said, adding that the use of pesticides also becomes negligible in absence of soil and external factors.
"In green houses, we generally use coco-pit for cultivation, in which nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium are given through controlled irrigation along with micro-nutrients. We also use hydroponics for variety of crops. Aeroponics is generally used for potato growing," he said.
At present, Rs 6 lakh is required to build a greenhouse over a 500 sq.m area, which includes expenditure on machinery for irrigation and temperature control, Sudan said. Government subsidy is about 50 per cent of the total cost.
A substantial part of the capital expenditure and operating cost is offset by greater output from greenhouse cultivation.
Sudan said the concept was getting popular among people, and vegetables grown in greenhouses would become cheaper in the time to come.
"At present, greenhouse facilities have been built over 60,000 acre in the country and the coverage is expected to reach 10 lakh acre in next 10 years. The government is also pushing it. As it expands, the technology will become economical, which will make vegetables cheaper," he explained.
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