Is hydroponic gardening a solution to the lack of farmland?
Surprising as it may appear, this farming method is far from a recent innovation. The first research into this procedure goes back to 1627, when it was begun by the well-known philosopher Francis Bacon. The method has come a long way, tough, since the first experiments in London to being used by NASA for plant cultivation in space.
This method of crop cultivation does without or reduces the importance of soil in the provision of nutrients to the roots of the plants. Depending on the type of hydroponic method, the plants many be cultivated in barren soil or in a solution of water and minerals. The solution includes all the vital minerals which would otherwise be available via the soil. By adopting this method, one can save space and cultivate land which has not been used for agricultural purposes.
Rice in the Sahara
The mention about hydroponics is connected with the presentation of Saleh Mohammad Yarouf Al Mansouri at this year’s Liva Dates Festival in the United Arab Emirates. Mr Mansouri has been using hydroponics on his farm in Liva in the UAE to grow… rice. Hydroponics in the country is far from unusual, as strawberries and celery have been grown via this method for local needs and for exportation. However, rice is a more difficult plant to cultivate, after all it is hardly ever grown in the desert!
Why is growing rice in the Sahara good news?
Cultivating this plant using hydroponics could be one of the answers to the threat of food crisis. The International Rice Research Institute which is based in the Philippines estimates that by 2025, 20 million hectares of Asian farmland may lack water. This is tantamount to widespread famine. Hydroponics might provide a method to prevent this crisis. At the same time, we need to remember that artificial fertilizers would gain a very important role, as they would need to replace the minerals in the soil completely.