Hydroponics in UAE vs Traditional Farming

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For centuries, traditional farming techniques have not changed much. No doubt that there have been advancements in the form of genetic engineering of seeds, irrigation techniques and the development of commercial farming tools. Our farmers still sow seeds into the soil, till the fields, apply water and sun, and wait for the harvest season. Today, hydroponics in UAE has taken the agriculture world by storm. It has been touted as the future of agriculture. 

Hydroponics systems, especially the vertical ones, are the farms of the future. They allow us to produce significant amounts of healthy fruits and vegetables to feed a growing population on a large scale sustainably. 

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Hydroponics in UAE – An Improvement over Traditional Farming

Here we present just a few ways to show that hydroponics in UAE is an improvement over traditional farming methods.

1 Greater Yields

First and foremost, a hydroponic farming system can grow nutrient-dense produce in more significant quantities. It has been found that vertical hydroponic farms can grow 240 faster than traditional farms. 

This faster growth can be attributed to the fact that plants derive their nutrients directly from the water in hydroponic farms. They do not have to leech them from the soil. Thus, the hydroponic plants grow faster and in an extensive manner.  

2 Less Space Needed

In today’s world, space is premium. Growing more food in less space sounds just too good to be true. This is what a vertical hydroponic farming system can do in principle. 

An elementary vertical hydroponic nursery can fit into 1.5 acre of space or about the size of a 200 car parking lot. Since there’s no requirement of soil, they can be built almost anywhere. 

Are you planning to develop your hydroponic farm in an old empty car dealership’s lot? Or the roof of a big box store? On the university or hospital grounds? Nothing stops you from building your hydroponics farm at your company’s corporate headquarters. There are endless possibilities.

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3 No Water Wastage

In the rapidly changing world, clean water is becoming more and more scarce. It has been reported that 2.7 billion people face water shortages at least one month out of the year. More than a billion do not have any access to clean water at all. In this increasingly frightful situation, the ability to farm with less water has never been more critical. 

Hydroponic farming systems use about 99% less water than traditional farming. No water is lost to the soil, no water lost to evaporation, and the water in the system is recycled repeatedly. This means that hydroponic farming systems can run in even the most severe drought conditions with little to no disruption. 

4 Sustainable Farming – Hydroponics in UAE

There is a great deal of soil degradation during traditional farming. We are currently losing fertile land globally at an alarming rate.

In hydroponic farming systems, you can regrow the same crops repeatedly without worrying about crop rotation. As hydroponic systems do not require any soil, they’re an excellent way to stop this problem.

Hydroponic farming systems also seek to use solar power as much as possible. This means that it is minor or simply no need for fossil fuel power sources. Thus with hydroponic farming systems, you’ll be growing crops in the greenest way!

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5 Climate Proof

With the rapidly changing global environment, our increasingly unpredictable climate has become a significant problem for farmers. We constantly see crops destroyed by flooding, drought, and other climate-related issues. Since hydroponic farming systems have their microclimates, they are immune to early frosts and heatwaves, droughts and flooding. 

They can also be built in areas where the climate is typically too hot or too cold to grow certain crops. This effectively means one can get local produce in areas all year-round where it is unthinkable in traditional farming.

6 Seasonally Agnostic

Can you ever think of having 11 to 13 harvests per year using traditional farming methods? Just as the climate is no challenge for hydroponic farming systems, seasons also do not pose any challenge. 

The temperatures inside the hydroponic farms are carefully monitored and controlled. This effectively means that summer crops can be grown even in the coldest months, and the harvest season is year-round.  

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7 Outdoor Contamination Proof

Traditional farms are prone to contamination from any number of sources. This contamination can be in the form of bird droppings. The groundwater gets contaminated by runoff from nearby animal agriculture. Air as well as water pollution are constant concerns. 

Open-air farming is increasingly leading to dangerous foodborne illnesses. This in turn is resulting in recall of food. Hydroponic farming systems keep the produce in carefully monitored conditions, far away from risks of contamination. 

8 Less Wastage of Food

Hydroponics in UAE is managed within the community. Thus, there is less wastage of time in shipping produce across the country or worldwide. Within 48 hours, most of the crops reach their intended market. This effectively means a longer shelf life once they hit the store, are purchased and brought home. 

Hydroponic farming systems are outdoor contamination proof. There are no risks of recalls and foodborne illnesses from typical outdoor threats which is normally the case in traditional farms. Thus there is less wastage of food and more healthy meals make it to the dining table. 

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Environmental Benefits of Hydroponics in UAE

1 Reduced Fossil Fuel Use with Flexible Growing Locations

Are you aware, how much fuel are we consuming  on a daily basis to ship food long distances to markets?

Hydroponic farming systems offer commercial growers the option of establishing their farms in locations closer to their intended markets or distribution channels. This cuts down the need for expensive transportation. 

The profits of hydroponics growers goes up and the pollution associated with the transportation is significantly reduced. The flexibility of hydroponics helps the environment by reducing emissions and the overall carbon footprint associated with food production and market transport.

2 Less Water Required

Water is an essential requirement of any kind of crop cultivation. Crops are constantly hydrated, else they will dry out if there is insufficient watering. Hence this requires a continuous supply of water to keep the plants hydrated and alive.

There is a central water bank or nutrient reservoir with hydroponics that feeds water directly to the plants. Although it is normal that there is some water loss due to evaporation, much of the water is retained for days and weeks.

Hydroponics systems are maintained by adding nutrients to the water and there is no need to pump new water into the system.

Hydroponic farming systems use only 10% of the water needed to grow plants in traditional soil. Just imagine how much water could be saved over long periods of time!

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3 Potentially Better for The Earth and Soil

The major problem associated with conventional farming is soil erosion. Old forests are being cut down and cleared to turn large areas into agricultural land. Land has become so scarce that we are destroying nature’s reserves of forests. 

On the other hand hydroponics farming does not engage too much land area. Unlike conventional farming, the land area needed for hydroponics farming is drastically less. Hydroponics farming will require small space, compared to traditional farming.

4 Reduced Use of Pesticides and Herbicides

Conventional farming uses two kinds of sprays –  herbicides and pesticides. Herbicides kill weeds or unwanted plants. While pesticides are used to control pest insects. The spraying of herbicides and pesticides do great damage to our environment.

Pesticides present in the field is washed away by rain water contaminating nearby ecosystems. On the other hand pesticides not only poison the target insect, but can potentially poison other animals on the farm.

However, with hydroponics farming, there is no weed growth. This is because it takes time for plants to grow into hydroponic growth medium. Hydroponic growth does not function exactly like soil. Hence there is no need to use herbicides.

Less use of herbicides and pesticides is good for the environment. Resulting in reduced runoff which is good for both the soil and water bodies. 

3 thoughts on “Hydroponics in UAE vs Traditional Farming

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