Hydroponic Farming: Cultivation of Fish and vegetables in a Pond
Farmers gave the name of 'boat farming' to hydroponic farming
The technique of growing vegetables along with fish farming in ponds is called Hydroponic Farming. To promote this, the Agriculture Department and the South Asian Forum for Environment have started a pilot project. Under the project, 25-25 farmers are selected, and basic facilities are given to them free of cost. So that after becoming popular, this technology can become a permanent source of food security, employment, and income.
Under the project, farmers are trained for hydroponic farming. Under the pilot project, vegetables are being grown in ponds in Bangaon of Kahra block and Ramoti village of Navhatta in Saharsa district of Bihar by placing eight drums each of 200 liters and making a boat-like scaffold on top of it. Local farmers have named it – Boat Farming.
No Soil No Fertilizer
For hydroponic farming, spinach, red greens, bitter gourd, brinjal, and coriander leaves have been sown in sun- and water-resistant bags using things like vermicompost, coconut husk, wood sawdust, slim soil. No soil or chemical fertilizers are added to the bag. Vegetables are maintained daily. People like District Agriculture Officer and District Agriculture Advisor also monitor the pilot project and ensure prompt treatment of crop pests or other diseases as soon as they are reported.
Why practice hydroponic farming?
District Agriculture Advisor Dr. Manoj Kumar Singh, who is monitoring the project, says that after sowing organic vegetables on 8 February in Bangaon and 11 February in Ramoti, the plants have now grown to 10 to 12 cm. The purpose of such an alternative system of hydroponic farming is to continue the production of vegetables even during floods. So that vegetables can be available even during the time of disaster and the farmer can earn. Farmer Tunna Mishra says that this method of alternative cultivation of vegetables can prove to be a boon for the flood-affected Kosi region.
Cost of hydroponic farming
Amrita Chatterjee and Chiranjeet Chatterjee, directors of the South Asian Forum for Environment, say that from March, the production of vegetables and fish will start in the pond in the neighbouring district of Supaul. For this talks have been held with the officers. He has promised to mark ponds at two places soon. He informed that solar powered automatic irrigation system is being used under hydroponic farming. In this technique of micro irrigation, farmers do not have to do the work of pouring water to the plants. Also less water is used.
He told that it costs 20-25 thousand rupees to install grow drums and prepare scaffolding on the boat. At present, the agriculture department has made all arrangements free of cost for the farmers selected for the pilot project. But in future there is a plan for training of farmers and formation of cooperatives.
Started from Manjali of Brahmaputra
Chatterjee said that in view of the devastation caused by the floods of the Brahmaputra river in Assam, the cultivation of vegetables and fish together in ponds under hydroponic farming was started in Manjali Island. From there this technique was first tried in West Bengal and then in Sundarbans areas of Bangladesh. After this it has now been started in the flood affected areas of Bihar.
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