Hydroponic Agriculture — Taking Root Without Soil

Ecuador has long been viewed as a developing country with a high poverty rate and tremendous overcrowding. Sadly, there is truth to this. In 1996, 27% of its urban population had their basic needs unfulfilled, and 34% of poor urban homes were unable to cover the cost of basic family needs. However, one project is slowly setting it apart from other unstable Latin American countries — Hydroponic Agriculture.

Hydroponic-Gardening-105Hydroponic Agriculture is the cultivation of crop plants under greenhouse conditions with their roots immersed in a nutrient-rich solution, but not soil. Hydroponic plants can be grown in water, gravel, sand and even in the air with an occasional nutrient bath.

Advantages

111012_0805_HowGoodAreC1The main disadvantage of this method of farming is that it is expensive; however, in the long-run it is cheaper and therefore more economically efficient than traditional farming.

While the initial cost of one garden is $355 (setting it up, buying the seeds and nutrients), it yields a 600% profit.

Take Asia, for instance. As of 2000, 525 million people classified as hungry in 2000 lived in Asian nations. If 50 million gardens were set up, 232 million people could be helped. This plan would cost $20 billion, but would generate a $135 billion per year. 

These statistics show that Hydroponic agriculture is beneficial and the smart way to grow food. Not only is it a source of fresh food, but it is also an income-generating project.

12 other Latin American and African countries, including Ecuador, have implemented this projects, mostly funded by the UNDP and UN FAO since 1984. The results have been extremely positive so far. Healthier children, an increase in employment, and a reduction in disease have all been observed because of Hydroponic Agriculture.

Whether countries invest in more advanced Hydroponics or use a simplified version of this method, this smart way of farming is a positive investment and needs to be given greater consideration.

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