Hydroponics in South Africa

Hydroponics is a method of growing plants without the use of soil. Instead, nutrients dissolved in water determine the overall growth of plants and are supplied regularly to plants.

Hydroponics is a fairly new technique and is being embraced in different countries including South Africa.

The technique is greatly efficient and can increase production, particularly of animal fodder. Besides, it enables farmers to predict their yield fairy accurately. One advantage of this technique is that it is not affected by variations in weather patterns or climate change hence production is consistent.

Some of the plants usually grown hydroponically include tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and lettuces.

The practice of hydroponics in South Africa

South Africa like any other country depends upon agriculture to feed her constantly growing population. Hydroponics in South Africa involves the utilization of certain hydroponics systems. These systems are commercial-based and they include Drip culture hydroponic systems, recycling hydroponic systems, Gravel Bed recirculating hydroponic systems and Nutrient Film Technique (NTF) hydroponic systems.

These systems are developed and supplied by commercial agencies dealing with hydroponics and they are fast and efficient.

One such commercial agency is NFT Hydro, which is the manufacturer and supplier of Hydroponic NFT Systems and equipment. These types of equipment have become central in this shift in methods of farming in South Africa and Africa as a whole.

There has been significant uptake in hydroponics practice among South African urban farmers, rooftops growers in the cities and commercial farmers searching for alternative methods of farming.

Advantages Of Hydroponics Farming in South Africa

  1. Vegetables produced using hydroponics technology are of high quality and often require little washing thereby conserving water.
  2. Preparation of the soil is reduced or eliminated. However, doing this is labor-intensive and may require considerable amounts of capital.
  3. Soil pollution is reduced. Besides that, attacks by pests which destroy crops remain a major challenge and also finding a ready market for the products is somehow challenging.

Requirements to start and run a hydroponics production in South Africa

Water is the most important resource in starting and running a hydroponics production in South Africa. The water should be clean and from a reliable source to ensure consistency of supply since it is the commodity used to dissolve minerals which plant grown using hydroponics technology need to grow.

Another requirement is the proper location of the business. Thus ensures easy access to the target market and ease in the transportation of goods to the market. Also, time to attend to the plants is important. A farmer practicing hydroponics in South Africa, as well as other parts of the world, need to set aside time for attending to the plants and monitoring their growth.

Finally, knowledge in plant gardening is also indispensable when starting and running hydroponics in South Africa. This entails expertise in crop production, fertilization, and irrigation, pests and disease control, and management.

 

Importance of hydroponics in South Africa

  1. Hydroponics has enabled South African farmers to yield more crops within a short time thereby supplying the population in major South African cities with food.
  2. South African government has been able to cut down on shipping costs of food and other vegetables through encouraging farmers to practice hydroponics. This has resulted in the support of the local market to grow.
  3. Hydroponics does not take so much space, hence people in urban centers in South Africa wishing to practice farming but with no enough space have resorted to hydroponics as an alternative.
  4. Advancements in technology have enabled many processes including processes involved in hydroponics to be automated. This has resulted in less human handling hence making the process more convenient and efficient.

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