The estimated growth of the hydroponics market was USD 9.5 billion, in 2020. The projected growth is at a CAGR of 11.3%, which will reach USD 17.9 billion by the year 2026. There is massive pressure for the agriculture industry to produce the continuous demands for grains and food. This has led them to look at high-yielding farming methods. A hydroponic growing system has been looked upon as the solution for the concern on food security in years to come.
Impact During the Pandemic
During the pandemic, most people stopped eating outside food. Safety became a key focus. People everywhere directed their attention towards home cooking and homemade meals.
After the outbreak, the adoption of hydroponic farming systems was expected to rise around the world. The agriculture industry had to face various challenges during the initial phase of the pandemic like labour shortages, supply disruption, and weather issues. Many people realised their dependence on food materials and began focusing on having a kitchen hydroponic herb garden as a solution.
Evolution of Hydroponics
Today’s hydroponic systems are sophisticated, but easy to use. They include systems that monitor pH levels, temperature, and the amount of light the plants receive. There are 6 types of systems: Wick System, Deep Water Culture (DWC), Nutrient Film Technique (NFT), Ebb and Flow, Drip System, and Aeroponics.
These systems can be used depending on the space or herbs you want to grow in your indoor hydroponic herb garden.
Hydroponics have many advantages. It doesn’t include soil, you won’t have to worry about weeds, space, pests, and using pesticides. Water is also conserved due to the system having a reservoir to save excess for water for later. Since they are indoors, food can be produced all year round.
A Sustainable Future
The need for sustainable and eco-friendly agriculture methods has seen a rise in start-up companies using hydroponic technology to produce crops on a larger scale, using vertical farming. Vertical farms are hydroponic farms, but in buildings, filled with a number of hydroponic systems, growing different crops indoors, which maintains the temperature. The largest vertical farm is in Dubai, covered at 130,000 square feet. Their aim is to produce 6,000 pounds of food every day, while using less amount of water. They import 85% percent of their food, which will greatly revolutionise the city’s food consumption.
Growth of Hydroponics in Europe
Europe has seen an increase in adopting hydroponic and vertical farming systems, accounting for the highest market share. Europe leads in implementing techniques in greenhouse agriculture. The Netherlands, France, and Spain have large areas that use greenhouse cultivation. Advancement of greenhouse farming has seen a boost in the growth of hydroponics all over Europe. The implementation and development of hydroponics has been the highest across all European countries.
Growing Plants in Space
One of the biggest advantages of hydroponics is producing fresh herbs or vegetables in areas with no soil. This can majorly improve food sufficiency. Even NASA has explored the possibility of using hydroponics in space!
On space stations, astronauts are provided with regular shipments with a variety of pre-packaged and freeze-dried meals for dietary needs. When crews travel to space without resupply shipments for months or years, the vitamins break down eventually, which isn’t good for the astronauts’ health.
NASA started a Vegetable Production System, called Veggie, which is a space garden. This system helps NASA study growth of plants in microgravity, while supplying astronauts with fresh food, which enhances wellbeing.
The Veggie Garden is like a mini hydroponic smart garden or carry-on luggage which holds six plants.
Hydroponics is changing the ways of food production. We may get to see modern farmers build a hydroponic garden inside their homes or in greenhouses to feed their families with fresh food, which can be grown throughout the year.