PAU develops soilless vegetable technology.
LUDHIANA: Punjab Agricultural University has become the first Indian university to have successfully developed the low-cost indigenous greenhouse hydroponics technology to cultivate soilless vegetable for higher vegetable yield and lower water and nutrient consumption. The technology has been developed using recirculation system on the pattern of USA and Europe.
On Wednesday, PAU research director Balwinder Singh inaugurated the technology in the research field of the department of mechanical engineering. V P Sethi, professor and head of the department of mechanical engineering, PAU has been instrumental in designing and developing the indigenous technology under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) project.
Sethi said this technology has been developed after two years of continuous efforts and experimentation. It involves cultivation of plants in suitable size pots (two plants per pot) filled with porous root media, having properties similar to soil. A balanced solution of water and nutrients is premixed in a dossier system and pumped to each plant intermittently in a controlled %manner. This enhances crop yield in much lesser space as compared to conventional soil based greenhouse/polyhouse cultivation.
“With this, PAU has become the first varsity in India to develop a low-cost indigenous greenhouse hydroponics technology to cultivate soilless vegetables for higher vegetable yields and lower water and nutrient consumption. Most importantly, use of this technology significantly lowers the cost of pesticides and nutrients, apart from limiting the use of precious water (saves about 90% water),” said Sethi. He also said the highlight of this soilless technology is that it eliminates problems of all soil-borne pathogens.
At present, cucumber, tomato and capsicum, which have attained fruiting stage in less than six weeks after transplanting, are being tested under this technology. Normally, these crops take more than six days to cultivate. The technology will also be introduced publically through bulletins and training programmes for the benefit of the common man.
Sethi said, “Every single person who has a greenhouse and skill can adopt this technology after taking training from experts. We have plans to train the common man. But it will take some time, since it needs to be standardized. After that, we will introduce this for the public.”