If you think cultivation can happen only in soil, think again. With technology coming of age, nutrient-rich water could replace soil. This new-age cultivation technique has a name, hydroponics in India.
So, What is Hydroponics in India?
Simply put, it is a technique involving water as the medium for cultivation, instead of soil. Water, mixed with the right nutrients in the right quantities, nourishes the plants to ensure optimal growth. The plants don’t float on water but are kept in place with perlite, coconut fiber, peat moss, and other materials. Oxygen is typically provided through air pumps and/or air stones, subject to the platform. The idea is to create a micro-climate for healthier and high-quality yield in a quicker crop cycle.
The stats paint a rosy picture of hydroponics in India. The market was worth INR 35 crores in 2019 with total production being around 3100 Metric Tons (MT). In the current year, production has hit the 10,500 MT mark, as the market has grown at a staggering 26% CAGR since 2019. The growth is due to a combination of multiple factors. These include water resources getting scarce, the land being increasingly used for purposes other than cultivation, and the top soil rapidly losing its fertility.
How does Hydroponics in India Work?
Hydroponics is an efficient and sustainable way of cultivation. Unlike traditional farming, you can do it without using much space and water. For a better understanding, here is how hydroponics works.
Step 1. Opt for a Suitable System:
First things first, decide on a suitable hydroponics system from options like deep water culture, nutrient film technique, drip irrigation, and more. When choosing, you have to take into account a variety of factors, notably the available space and budget. Mind you, some systems require more space and investment than others. Also, some systems do not work with some plants, growing mediums, and solutions. So, you have to check that in advance to avoid unpleasant surprises.
Step 2. Opt For Suitable Plants:
What you will grow is an important consideration, as it will decide your profits. While virtually all crops can be grown through hydroponics, some crops are more suitable. You can choose fruitless plants like herbs for winter cultivation. Likewise, strawberries, tomatoes, and cucumbers can be considered for summer. You are better off with crops that require less space, time, and effort.
Step 3. Install the System:
Once you have opted for the system and plants, it’s time to have the growing area in place. Usually, hydroponics companies provide installations, free or otherwise. But if your company doesn’t, you can ask for installation instructions and proceed accordingly. Once installation is over, you should carefully pour the nutrient-rich water solution into the newly installed hydroponics system.
Step 4. Cultivate the Seedlings:
Now, it’s time to put the seedlings in the system. Make sure the roots are well within the nutrient-rich solution. Considering the plant’s size is also crucial. You need to place smaller plants closer to each other, as they require less space to grow. Likewise, place the larger plants further apart. Also, place the mature plants in areas with more light while seedlings can be placed in shadier areas.
Step 5. Make Lighting Arrangements:
Crops require proper lighting for proper growth. So, it’s advisable to keep the system in a well-lit area or have artificial lights in place. Your artificial lighting options include fluorescent, LED, and high-intensity discharge (HID) lights. In any case, ensure that the light intensity and light spectrum are optimized to meet the different needs of different plants at different stages. For example, red light helps in quicker flowering and fruiting while blue light allows better vegetative growth.
Step 6: Keep an Eye on the Nutrient Solution:
The quality and quantity of your produce largely depend on the nutrient-rich solution. The yield will be higher and superior if the solution is primed for the particular crop, as simple as that. So, it’s wise to constantly monitor the solution’s pH & nutrient levels and make adjustments when needed.
Step 7: It’s time to Harvest:
Once the plants reach maturity, it’s time to harvest them. However, you need to take a few steps to prevent contamination. To this end, clean and sanitize all tools and equipment used for harvesting. Also, learn different techniques for harvesting different plants. Being gentle with the plants is also important when harvesting. You don’t want your produce to be bruised or damaged, after all.
Step 8: Storage & Disposal:
To keep your produce fresh and healthy, you need to put in place a proper storage facility. The storage space should be spacious, cool, and dry. A refrigeration facility can be added if needed. Also, dispose of the waste material quickly to discourage the spread of disease or pests.
Why Does Hydroponics in India Matter? (Pros & Cons)
Hydroponics in India is growing rapidly in recent times. Why? Well, the reasons are plenty.
1. Higher & Superior Yield
The plants receive their nutritional needs by absorbing nutrients from the water through their roots. Plus, the growth conditions and favorable micro-climate are optimized. So, you can expect 240 times better yield in multiple crop cycles in a given year as compared to conventional farming.
2. No Soil Needed
The planet has been estimated robbed of 50% of the topsoil in the last century and a half. Given the rapidly rising population to feed and rapidly depleting topsoil, hydroponics could address the food security issue. With soil eliminated outright, cultivation can happen in liquid, sand, or gravel.
3. Anytime, Anywhere Cultivation
The soil quality varies from location to location. And, certain soils are suitable for certain crops. That restricts the cultivation of certain crops in certain areas conventionally. However, when the soil is out of the equation, farmers enjoy the freedom to cultivate any crop anywhere, anytime.
4. Less Water Usage
Surprising but true, hydroponics uses 98% less water than conventional growing methods. As the water is recirculated here, plants can soak in the required amount while giving back the rest to the system. As such, hydroponics in India comes across as a vital cog in countering water scarcity.
5. Maximum Space Utilization
Typically, hydroponic farms leverage tower-like structures (vertical farms) where growing happens in vertically stacked layers. That translates into up to 90% better space utilization than in traditional farming. That makes hydroponics farming the go-to response against depleting arable land.
6. Labor Costs & Hassles Reduced
Hydroponics farming is a new-age farming practice where labor-intensive tasks are pushed out of the equation. With fewer man-hours involved, the cultivator ends up saving significant labor costs and time. Even a lone part-time worker can handle a small or mid-sized hydroponic setup.
7. Seasonality & Risks Eliminated
Let’s face it. Fruits and veggies are seasonal when grown conventionally. Plus, the risk of losing the crop to the vagaries of weather runs high. As the growth happens in a controlled environment all through the year minus any weather intervention, hydroponic farms eliminate seasonality and risks.
10 Top Hydroponics Startups in India
As hydroponics is a lucrative proposition, companies are investing heavily to get a bigger piece of the pie. Even we see startups jumping on the bandwagon. Read on to know all there’s to know about the top 10 hydroponics startups in India. As a side note, these hydroponics companies in India can assist you in growing your own produce even in space-cramped urban dwellings.
1. Hydroponics in India Startups: Letcetra Agritech
Based out of Goa, Letcetra Agritech has been at the forefront of hydroponics in India. It’s a vision of a few driven, young engineers from diverse backgrounds who share a passion for innovation in agriculture and concern for food security. The company uses the best practices in hydroponics to produce healthy, delectable food devoid of pesticides and fungicides. The products include:
- BELL PEPPERS
- LOLLO GREEN LETTUCE
- ROCKET ARUGULA LETTUCE
- ROMAINE LETTUCE
- CHERRY TOMATOES
When it comes to services, Letcetra can design, operate and maintain an integrated hydroponic system. So, if you wish to make the most of your vacant space for commercial food production and wheel in profits, the company can help. Also, it invests heavily in R&D to stay ahead of the curve.
Letcetra initiated operations with a single 150 square meters farm in Mapusa, Goa. Of late, it has come up with two more state-of-the-art farms, collectively measuring 2,300 square meters. The three locations together contribute up to 8 tones of yield monthly, which is impressive for a startup.
- Since: 2016
- Headquarters: Goa
- Address: Unnamed Road, Sateri Wada, Dongurli, Goa 403505
- Contact Number: 9604600772
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://www.letcetraagritech.com/
2. Hydroponics in India Startups: Urban Kisaan
Urban Kisaan has a tradition of producing nutritious, palatable, pesticide-free, and Non-GMO foods in hyperlocal hydroponic farms. Operating out of Hyderabad, the company leverages inventive techniques to achieve a 30% higher yield with 95% less water than conventional means.
Urban Kisaan operates over 12 modern, hydroponic farms, producing an extensive variety of:
- Fruits: Apple, Mossambi, Musk Melon, Oranges, Plum, Pears, Guava, Cherries, Jamun, and Papaya
- Leafy Vegetables: Spring Onion, Curry Leaf, Microgreen Sunflower, Amaranth, Butterhead, and Green Lettuce
- Veggies: Cabbage Green, Carrot, Onion, Potato, Garlic, Hybrid Tomato, Sweet Corn, Peas, and Ginger
- Herbs: Rosemary, Basil, Leeks, Lemongrass, Fennel, Coriander, and Microgreen Wheatgrass
Urban Kisaan sells the produce locally through a thriving supply chain. Recently, it has tied up with Swiggy, Dunzo, Zomato, and others to extend its outreach. The company also sells home kits to allow you to start hydroponics in India production unit at home.
- Since: 2017
- Headquarters: Hyderabad
- Address: 36 Urban Center, 4th floor, Rd Number 36, CBI Colony, Jubilee Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana 500033
- Contact Number: +91 8430 200 200
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.urbankisaan.com/
3. Hydroponics in India Startups: Future Farm
Future Farm is pushing innovation in hydroponics in India to address the food scarcity concerns looming. As one of the top hydroponic and precision farm automation startups, it provides end-to-end solutions, tailored to each client. From feasibility studies and consultancy to farm installations, agronomy training, and operation, it caters to it all with a commitment to the client’s needs.
Future Farm specializes in cultivating Greens, vine crops, Berries, Licensed Industrial Hemp, Hi-Tech Nurseries, and more. In a short evolution history, the company has installed 60 commercial projects for individuals and corporations across India. Its client list reads some of the most recognizable names like Tata, Adani, Dabur, DuPont, Havells, DS Group, and Green Earth.
Future Farm is committed to delivering constant, efficient, and timely agronomy assistance to partner growers, helping them achieve their business goals. The company is constantly adopting breakthrough technologies to stay cutting-edge. Plus, it has collaborated with some of the top global names in the precision and controlled environment agriculture industry.
- Since: 2014
- Headquarters: Chennai
- Address: 4/640, 12th Link, 3rd Cross St, Venkateswara Colony, Nehru Nagar, Perungudi, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600096
- Contact Number: 097907 80804
- Website: https://www.business.futurefarms.in/
4. Bitmantis Innovation
From a humble origin in 2015 to one of the leading hydroponic startups, Bitmantis Innovation has come of age. Think of it as an IoT and data analytics company with a strong focus on hydroponics in India. The company offers an IoT-based growing environment system, GreenSAGE to enable hydroponic cultivation of herbs at homes and commercial establishments, all year round.
GreenSAGE comes with the right conditions to support the production of aromatic, culinary herbs and greens. The system is designed to control all aspects of hydroponic farming automatically, from plant nutrition to water and light. GreenSAGE is available in three variants, Micro, Greens, and Biz to support all requirements and budgets. The first two are for personal growth while the third one is exclusively for commercial establishments, including boutique restaurants and resorts.
Bitmantis also has a cloud platform in place to enable GreenSAGE to perform optimally. The inventive platform keeps track, handles, and automates all processes, alongside storing data in the cloud and presenting it whenever required. The communications are encrypted for security reasons. CETERA-1 is another offering from Bitmantis, built to gather data from across sensors and interface with actuators. It’s easily integrable with GreenSAGE and other solutions based on IoT.
- Since: 2015
- Headquarters: Bangalore
- Address: 2016, Southend E Cross, Jayanagar 9th Block, Bangalore 560069 – INDIA
- Contact Number: 080 4166 2447, +918041662447
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: http://bitmantis.launchrock.com/
5. Ela Sustainable Solutions
Ela Sustainable Solutions is a mission to make sustainable and profitable farming accessible for everyone. The Kochi-based company offers end-to-end assistance for setting up and managing small hydroponic farms measuring up to 100 square feet. It relies on Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) to help produce high-quality, nutritious, and pesticide-free fruits and vegetables.
Besides promoting hydroponics in India, Ela also provides fully managed indoor farms, micro greens, container farms, and polyhouse solutions. The company offers a vast variety of farm units, including indoor home units, step models, a frame with a roof, a frame without a roof, a Dutch bucket system, and a flatbed. Ela is capable of growing a broad variety of leafies, and veggies, such as:
- Veggies: Cucumber, Tomato, Cabbage, Capsicum, Beans, Cauliflower, Carrots, Brinjal, and Lady Finger
- Leafy Vegetables: Spinach, Lettuce, Coriander, and more
As one of the top hydroponics in India startups, Ela has expansion plans in the pipeline.
- Since: 2018
- Headquarters: Kochi
- Address: Lane 12, Toc H Road Elamkulam, Vyttila, Kochi, Kerala-682020
- Contact Number: +91 9745206600
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: firstname.lastname@example.org
6. Acqua Farms
Though Acqua Farms is one of the latest entrants into the industry, it has set benchmarks in hydroponics in India solutions delivery. Birthed in 2019, the company has what it takes to grow 6K+ plants within an 80 sq feet area. It’s adept at cultivating virtually everything – be it herbs, leafy greens, or fruits. Acqua Farms can ensure cultivation even in planters made from PVC pipes. How’s that for innovation? That’s why we rank it among the top 10 hydroponics startups in India.
Besides consultation, Acqua Farms provides small hydroponic kits and commercial-scale systems to suit the client’s exact specifications and expectations. Planter systems up to 1K capacity are readily available. The company also offers a subscription-based service for starters keen on exploring hydroponic farming. It deploys an agronomist to monitor and manage all farm operations.
- Since: 2019
- Headquarters: Chennai
- Address: Ground floor, Darshan Apartments, 14, Thirumoorthy Nagar, 2nd Street, Nungambakkam, Chennai -600034
- Contact Number:
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.acquafarms.org/
7. Ninja Cart
Ninja Cart isn’t a hydroponic company but India’s most prominent fresh produce supply chain company. So, why is it on the list of the top hydroponic startups in India? Well, the company connects hydroponic farmers to buyers through a well-defined, robust supply chain. It procures from farmers and delivers to the retailers in 12 hours or less to retain freshness and quality.
Ninja Cart leverages technology and analytics to do away with the intermediaries to help farmers up their profits by 20%. It has come with efficient, trustworthy, and economical logistics to speed up deliveries and keep the quality of produce intact. The retailers, thus, acquire farm-fresh products at affordable prices. Also, it ensures quick payments and fair weighing to keep farmers satisfied.
- Since: 2015
- Headquarters: Bengaluru
- Address: WeWork Vaishnavi Signature, No. 78/9, Outer Ring Road, Bellandur Village, Varthur Hobli, Bengaluru, Karnataka – 560103
- Contact Number: 08069155666
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://ninjacart.in/
8. Junga FreshnGreen
Nestled in Junga, a small, gorgeous town in Himachal Pradesh, Junga FreshnGreen is rapidly making inroads into the Indian hydroponic market to be among the top hydroponic startups in India. In collaboration with the Westlands Project Combinatie BV (WPC), the top-rated Dutch agriculture tech company, Junga FreshnGreen is using hydroponic techniques to deliver delectable, fresh, chemical-free, and nutritious food around the year, regardless of the season or weather conditions.
Junga FreshnGreen has set up a state-of-the-art facility spread across 9.3 hectares in Junga. It can recreate similar facilities for landowners keen to jump on the hydroponic bandwagon. Turnkey solutions are provided, from setting up to farm management. The focus is on implementing leading-edge hydroponic techniques to guarantee a predictable yield and higher profitability for partner farmers. As a side note, it has raised $27 million in funds recently.
- Since: 2016
- Headquarters: New Delhi
- Address: 6/71 Ground Floor, West Punjabi Bagh, New Delhi-110026
- Contact Number: +91-9717055581
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: https://www.jungafreshngreen.com/
9. Ponic Greens
Ponic Greens has been around since 2012, dedicated to raising awareness about food quality. The company provides consultation, equipment, and support to help urban dwellers grow without soil and hassles. It manufactures, sells, and installs:
- Hydroponic Systems
- Aquaponic Systems
- Grow Media
- DIY Kits
- Growth Light
Ponic Hydroponic systems include URBAN NFT Systems, Vertical, and Dutch Bucket. Likewise, the Aquaponic systems product category features EBB, and Flow Grow Bed Systems, and Barrel Ponics. The GROW MEDIA product portfolio is equally impressive, including Coco Peat, Clay Pellets (LECA), Perlite, and Vermiculite.
The company guarantees 90% water savings, 70% space-saving, 95% healthier foods, and 75% increased yield. As one of the leading startups dealing in hydroponics in India, Ponic has an impressive portfolio of clients, featuring Coca-Cola, Dainik Bhaskar, JK Tyre, Windgreens, Freshleaf, and more.
10. Pindfresh, Chandigarh
Pindfresh is committed to decentralizing the food supply chain and helping localize cultivation and improving yield and quality. The company manufactures and sells DIY Kits to allow cultivation in space-cramped urban centers. Whether you wish to cultivate for self-consumption or sale, the company keeps you covered.
Pindfresh brings forth an extensive range of products in multiple categories, such as:
- Indoor Growing
- Outdoor Growing
- Grow Lights
- Gardening Kits
- Grow Media
Pindfresh is keen to customize systems to your exact requirements, expectations, and specifications. No matter how much space you have or which plant variety you need to grow, the company can support your every individual need. You can always expect top-notch customer service and technical support, should you need it.
- Headquarters: Nayagaon, Punjab
- Address: Pindfresh Technologies, #966, Block-G, Kumaon Colony, Nayagaon
- Contact Number: +91- 9988233551
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: https://www.pindfresh.com/
With water and soil running scarce, hydroponics comes across as a feasible way to cultivate and feed the rapidly growing population. Cultivators no longer rely on climate, region, and other factors for cultivation. With the list of top 10 hydroponics in India startups, Duniakagyan acknowledges the efforts to tackle the imminent food scarcity issue before it reaches the critical level. For more such informative content, stay tuned to Duniakagyan – your one-stop destination for general awareness.
People are also Reading: