Business India ×
  Magazine:
Niche Business

Published on: June 3, 2020, 9:36 p.m.
A novel way of food production
  • Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient rich solution

By Yeshi Seli. Assistant Editor, Business India

Hydroponics does not use soil, instead the root system is supported using an inert medium like perlite, rockwool, clay pellets, peat moss or vermiculite.

Plants grow through photosynthesis, in which they use sunlight and Chlorophyll present in the leaves to convert carbon dioxide from the air and water into glucose (a type of sugar) and oxygen. What they do need is water and nutrients, obtained from soil in regular farming and from a nutrient-rich solution in Hydroponics.

Scandinavian countries use hydroponics to grow crops in winter as it allows plants to grow indoors. The Asia Pacific region too is witnessing a spurt in such facilities. It’s for the same reason that Dharampal Satyapal (DS) group decided to invest in hydroponics facility – called Natures Miracle - in Greater Noida.

With a turnover of $1 billion, and having a strong presence in snacks foods, beverages, spices, dairy, mouth fresheners, hospitality, retail, packaging, and agro forestry, the group decided to make forays into hydroponics and set up a facility in an area of 2 hectares, three years back (2016).

"The products that are grown here in the glasshouse (different types of tomatoes, strawberries, bell peppers, and cucumbers) are better than any in the market, they are healthy, fresh, with consistent taste as a result of which they are a great option to snack on. We take care of our products like our own children, to keep them happy we even play music in the facility,” says, Anchal Kumar, Partner, Nature’s Miracle.

Nature’s Miracle is the only of its kind facility in India – it is a fully-automated glasshouse with the precision of Dutch-Hydrophonic technology.

As of now nearly 14 to 18 tonnes of produce is grown there every month and these products are sent across 12 cities in India which includes: Delhi, NCR, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kanpur, Dehradun, Haldwani, Indore, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Zirakpur and Jalandhar.

"In a few years time we would make more such facilities across different locations in India," says Anchal adding that since the parent company is cash-rich the capital was raised via owners equity investment (which they don’t want to disclose).

"Nature’s Miracle is the first project in India with such a high level of computer-controlled greenhouses and equipment, located in Greater Noida. I am proud to be a part of this project. The Indian team has picked up the basics well as this is a self-learning facility," says their Dutch partner René Zwinkels.

"Candy Tomatoes, Snack Cucumbers & Circus Mix (having cucumber, tomatoes and sweet peppers) are very healthy snacks that can fill your appetite for about three hours with the lowest amount of calories. Keeps you fit all day," says nutritionist Reeta Shanker Seth.

The cost of 250 gms of red/yellow cherry tomatoes (Natures Miracle) is Rs 150, sweet snack peppers (150 gm) is Rs 150 and Candy tomatoes (250) is Rs 150. These are available across food markets like Foodhall, Le Marche and many similar stores, besides hotels and restaurants!

Interestingly, the DS Group forayed into the Agro-Forestry business in 2006 by acquiring waste, semi-arid and fallow lands in Madhya Pradesh. They grow medicinal and aromatic plants here like Sandalwood. Besides, they also cultivate horticultural crops in parts of Madhya Pradesh where there were water shortages (which they overcame with water harvesting and conservation).

"We always dreamt of world-class agricultural practices being introduced in India. So, we researched, planned, collaborated with experts, and now take pride in having set up one of the first fully automated hydroponic glass greenhouse in India. This involved bringing together the best minds from India and hydroponic technology experts from the Netherlands,’’ says a spokesman of the group.

"The hanging gardens of Babylon, the floating gardens of the Aztecs of Mexico and those of the Chinese are examples of 'Hydroponic' culture. Egyptian hieroglyphic records dating back several hundred years B.C. describe the growing of plants in water," as described in Hydroponic food production by Howard M. Resh.

Hydroponic vegetables and fruits are given favourable conditions and individual climatic conditions through an automatically temperature-controlled greenhouse. This means that these products can be grown all year round without using any artificial means to enhance their growth and still save up to 90 per cent water than regular farming. Hydroponics is proven to be far more lucrative than most organic vegetable farming in India.

According to Mordor Intelligence, the Global Hydroponics Market was valued at $ 23.94 billion in 2018 and is expected to register a CAGR of 6.8 per cent during the forecast period (2019-2024). In 2018, Europe is the largest geographic segment of the market studied and accounted for a share of around 47.3 per cent of the overall market however Africa is the fastest growing.

In India too many farmers have set up similar facilities on a smaller scale across various states. Since hydroponics is slated to be the future of farming, India wouldn’t lag behind in set up more such facilities!

Don't miss this

Cover Feature

In control of its growth momentum

JK Tyre readies itself for an exceptional growth spell

Special Report

Ready to roll

NCRTC could be the mascot of changes the government has planned for the railways

Focus

Pegasus affair rocks the nation

Unless cleaned up, it will only bring down India’s global image

Corporate Report

GHFL consolidates its leadership

Garware High Tech Films dominates the market with its differentiated portfolio

Our letter to you, once a week.
Register with The CSR Weekly for free!

E-MAGAZINE
Exceptional Growth Ahead
Can we do another 1991?
Amazing turnaround
FROM THIS ISSUE

Corporate Report

Corporate Report

MSMEs

Corporate Report

Feature

Corporate Report

Social Responsibility

Healthcare

Goodyear India partners Americares India Foundation

Published on Feb. 2, 2021, 9:21 p.m.

The partnership will support COVID-19 healthcare facilities in Faridabad and Aurangabad

Environment

Tata Motors launches a 'Go Green' initiative

Published on Dec. 23, 2020, 10:34 a.m.

The company will plant a sapling for the sale of every new commercial vehicle

Women Empowerment

Tata Starbucks ties up with Educate Girls to empower women

Published on Dec. 2, 2020, 3:10 p.m.

The partnership aims to provide volunteering and educational support to those who have relocated to urban cities from villages

Environment

Indian Oil has a social initiative for a clean and green world

Published on Nov. 25, 2020, 2:53 a.m.

The public sector company is planting a tree for every retail customer visit during its TreeCheers campaign period

Climate Change

Entrepreneursip

Two Indian organisations win UNDP prize

Published on July 21, 2021, 2:55 p.m.

The Equator Prize recognises local and indigenous communities from around the world

Environment

Largest man-made forest to come up in Chhattisgarh

Published on July 21, 2021, 12:35 p.m.

In one of the country's largest ecological restorations, 2,500 acres of barren land will be converted into a natural habitat

Entrepreneursip

Veerappa Moily’s son to launch ClimateTech VC fund

Published on July 21, 2021, 12:09 p.m.

The fund will concentrate on four sectors: green buildings, energy storage, sustainable agriculture, and alternative energy

Environment

One-fifth of forests at risk due to climate change: government

Published on July 21, 2021, 10:40 a.m.

The dominant tree species in central Indian forests, Teak and Sal are expected to be sensitive to change in temperature than rainfall

Stay ahead of the times.
Register with The Climate Change Weekly for free!