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Sustainable Farming taking over Traditional Agricultural Techniques

05 Feb 2024

Climate change is a critical global challenge that is already manifesting through extreme weather events, rising sea levels, water scarcity and food insecurity. Among the solutions put forward to address this pressing issue, hydroponics emerges as a promising technology with the potential to revolutionise sustainable agriculture. By enabling the production of more food with less water and land, hydroponics offers the potential to enhance agricultural resilience against pests, diseases, and extreme weather events.

The origins of hydroponics can be traced back to ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Chinese who utilised hydroponic techniques to cultivate plants in nutrient-rich water solutions. Today, hydroponics is widely employed worldwide to grow a diverse range of crops, including vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. Its popularity is particularly notable in arid regions and urban areas where land and water resources are limited.

Hydroponic methods, classified as Climate Smart/Controlled Environment Agriculture (CSA/CEA), contribute to climate-resilient farming practices. These methods provide greater control and protection against the impact of changing climate conditions, ensuring more consistent production and higher-quality food systems.

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Hydroponics demonstrates enhanced resilience to climate change compared to traditional agriculture. With hydroponic systems, the risk of droughts, floods, and heatwaves is minimized, making it a more reliable method. Moreover, hydroponics enables the cultivation of crops in areas unsuitable for traditional agriculture, such as arid regions and urban environments. It is highly water-efficient, utilizing up to 90% less water than conventional agriculture, making it particularly suitable for water-scarce regions affected by climate change. By utilizing climate-controlled greenhouses, hydroponics allows for meticulous management of internal climate conditions, irrigation systems, pest control, and fertilizers, resulting in more efficient resource utilization and reduced waste.

In addition to its climate resilience, hydroponics offers several advantages over traditional soil-based agriculture, significantly boosting productivity. It yields higher crop yields while requiring less land, a crucial factor in meeting the world's growing food needs. Furthermore, it eliminates the limitations of seasonal production, enabling year-round cultivation, and ensures clean production by eliminating the need for harmful pesticides.

Beyond its environmental sustainability and resource efficiency, hydroponics empowers farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to produce higher-quality and higher-yielding crops. This aspect is particularly beneficial to farmers and SMEs, enabling them to expand their businesses and contribute to sustainable food production while preserving the environment. Therefore, widespread adoption of CSA/CEA methods like hydroponics among farmers and agricultural SMEs will undoubtedly have a positive impact on our food systems, enhancing their resilience to climate change.

Therefore, if you are looking into investing in sustainable smart agricultural methods, as many local companies started doing, it is a great opportunity to increase crop yields, and access international markets through existing export opportunities!

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These knowledge articles have been developed in collaboration with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the EBRD). The EBRD is committed to supporting small and medium-sized enterprises’ sustainability efforts and accelerating the transition to clean energy in the regions where it works. For more information about how the EBRD can help your business’ journey to net-zero, please contact your regional office found here.

EBRD is partnering with I-GO Assistant to support SMEs’ sustainability efforts with a free-to-use resource efficiency assessment and navigation tool designed and managed by the Green Industry Platform.

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