Farmer Makes use of Hydroponics to Develop Strawberries & Flip His Life Round

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Inspired by the soil-less farming approach utilized in Israel, Uttar Pradesh’s Dheeraj Verma turned to cultivating strawberries utilizing hydroponics. He earned Rs 3 lakh in simply two months.

A few years again whereas switching channels, Dheeraj Verma got here throughout a tv programme that showcased how Israel has pioneered hydroponic farming – an modern and environment friendly method to develop crops with no need soil.

This soil-less farming approach piqued the curiosity of the Barabanki district farmer.

“Israel has been extraordinarily progressive in farming regardless of having a dry local weather, restricted water sources, and excessive inhabitants density,” he tells The Higher India.

“With what they grew in an acre of land, they have been in a position to export it to a number of nations. I puzzled, in the event that they have been exporting produce from only one acre, why was I lagging behind regardless of proudly owning 10 acres of land? I used to be not in a position to promote my produce even to the following village, not to mention to the opposite nations,” he provides with a sigh.

Dheeraj was so fascinated by the approach that he went on to look at tons of of associated movies on hydroponics farming in Israel. His obsession led him to undertake the follow in his village Meenapur, Barabanki, which is well-known for cultivating conventional crops like wheat, maize and rice.

Early this 12 months, Dheeraj made gross sales of Rs 3 lakh inside two months by cultivating strawberries hydroponically.

 Hydroponic farming is an innovative and efficient way to grow crops without needing soil.
Hydroponic farming is an modern and environment friendly method to develop crops with no need soil.

4 issues, one resolution

For the previous 13 years, the BSc graduate has been rising conventional crops utilizing standard farming methods. In reality, he used to develop strawberries on the open farm on 5 acres of land.

“The method was very cumbersome because it required plenty of land, mulching, and drip irrigation. Weeding can be a standard challenge in rising strawberries on land. To do away with the undesirable grass, we needed to make use of agricultural labourers. The labour fees alone would value us Rs 50,000 to take away weeds from a bigha of land,” he provides.

For Dheeraj, hydroponics farming appeared a panacea for all challenges.

In 2021, he went to Madhya Pradesh to undertake coaching by Dhakad Brothers to study the hydroponics methodology of cultivation. “In hydroponics farming, you give vitamins to vegetation by way of water. A crop requires 13 sorts of vitamins together with main vitamins like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, secondary vitamins like calcium, sulphur, and magnesium, and tertiary vitamins like iron, zinc, manganese, copper, boron, molybdenum, and chlorine. These parts act as a necessary catalyst for plant progress,” he explains.

“Though I knew the approach to offer these vitamins by way of water, I didn’t know the ratio during which these parts have been required to be given to the crop. The coaching helped me study the strategy,” he provides.

Within two months, Dheeraj was able to harvest 5 tonnes of strawberries.
Inside two months, Dheeraj was in a position to harvest 5 tonnes of strawberries. Photograph: Pixabay.

5x extra produce in small house

Coming again, Dheeraj established a 3,500 sq ft hydroponics set-up on his farm. Thereafter, he planted 9,000 saplings of strawberries utilizing coco peat as a medium.

“I used develop baggage and crammed them with cocopeat. In these develop baggage, I linked 4 drippers for water provide and made 4 small holes for drainage. Subsequent, I planted the saplings and provided all of the vitamins to the crop with water. With this methodology, I water the plant at a spot of per week, as a substitute of operating the water provide 24×7. Nearly 70 p.c of water will get absorbed within the media for plant progress,” he says.

It took Dheeraj 1.5 months and Rs 12 lakh to construct the construction. 

“Nevertheless it was all value it. It’s a one-time funding that reduces the general enter prices after a sure interval. For 5 years, I wouldn’t have to fret in regards to the upkeep of the system,” he says.

Inside two months, Dheeraj was in a position to harvest 5 tonnes of strawberries and earned an revenue of Rs 3 lakh in the identical interval. “This methodology is much better than standard farming. With hydroponics, I bought 5 occasions extra manufacturing in hydroponics in comparison with open-land farming,” he provides.

Highlighting the duties farmers must be aware of whereas adopting this methodology, he says, “Farmers want to watch the hydroponics farm a minimum of as soon as on daily basis. The strawberries are closely attacked by pests and fungus. In land-based farming, we have been pressured to spray chemical pesticides indiscriminately. However in hydroponics, I used to be in a position to lower chemical inputs,” he says.

Early this year, Dheeraj made sales of Rs 3 lakh within two months by cultivating strawberries hydroponically.
Early this 12 months, Dheeraj made gross sales of Rs 3 lakh inside two months by cultivating strawberries hydroponically.

For this, he ready a distinctive fungicide utilizing curd. 

“In a single litre of curd, add 50 grams of copper wires or a copper lota (spherical vessel). Maintain the content material for a minimum of 15  days till the content material turns into utterly blue. Take 2 ml of this combination and dilute it in 1 litre of water. Spray the diluted content material on crops as soon as each week all through the season. This tackles fungi assault and provides a great yield,” he explains.

“Though I’m extraordinarily completely satisfied to reap advantages by adopting this new approach, initially I made some errors in getting good vitamins from the market. I bought misled into shopping for vitamins from fraud corporations. This delayed my manufacturing by 1.5 months. However I’m assured that I can earn as much as Rs 10 lakh within the subsequent season from the identical setup,” says Dheeraj, who’s at present cultivating purple and yellow kinds of capsicum on the hydroponics setup.

Giving his instance, Dheeraj advises different farmers to discover hydroponics farming. 

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“This system just isn’t rocket science, any untutored farmer can reap good-looking income with hydroponics like me,” he suggests.

Edited by Padmashree Pande. All photographs: Dheeraj Verma.

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