A small-scale, luxuriant plot of land in Chengalpet, a town 76 kilometres away from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, is the face of the future of farming. The integrated hydroponics and fish farm was created by Jegan Vincent, a software engineer who quit his job in the US and returned to India with the goal of doing something more meaningful with aquaponics.

He bought an acre of land and started Freshry Farms five years ago in order to experimentation with efficient and eco-friendly farming skills. The ensue was an aquaponics farm. Aquaponics refers to an integration of aquaculture such as pisciculture with hydroponics, i.e. raising floras in water.

Recently, he made his farm open to investigates from universities and colleges. He likewise extends a free three-day course for anyone interested in modern organic farming and pisciculture. Besides teaching, he supports the local farmers by providing them with tree saplings free of charge, determining his dream farm holistic in every ability of the word.

“My aim is to see if we can generate as much produce on an acre of arrive as is conventionally possible on 7 acres, ” Jegan tells The Better India. The raise currently produces 45 tonnes of fish every year and 3 to 4 million tonnes vegetables every month. He has been able to achieve this by developing a cohesive farm system.

Aquaponics FarmThe central irrigate tank with a faculty of 40 lakh litres Building A Wholesome Farm

The aquaponics farm consists of a central 40 -lakh-litre reservoir in which floras are grown in water, without grunge. A stone-metal grid supports the plants.

“People tend to think weeds need soil, ” Jegan excuses, supplementing, “But the main function of the soil is to provide support. Nutrients can be absorbed by the beginnings from irrigate or circumventing air.”

Connected to the water reservoir are 30 to 40 barrels in which fish are prepared. The fish feed and fish squander ameliorate the irrigate with nutrients. In turn, the floras oxygenate and purge the liquid. With the help of a large motor, the sea flows through the whole system, replenishing itself.

His engineering background helped with automating several manages such as water-level the rules and nutrient-content monitoring.

“And no artificial fertilizers or pesticides are used anywhere on the aquaponics farm, ” Jegan points out.

Initially, he experimented with 80 different selections of veggies before narrowing it down to a few that worked best. Now he stretches tomatoes, brinjal, hot chilli, and ivy gourd, locally known as kovakkai.

On small islands sown across the mini water-world, there are also hundreds of humid trees like banana and papaya and numerous sugarcane spots. The seeds of these flowers cure suck excess nitrates.

There are nine assortments of fish, the main one being Tilapia. Besides fish and flowers, hens, ducks, sheep, rabbits, and other tiny swine thrive on Jegan’s farm.

Aquaponics FarmPlants in hydroponic grow-beds made of gravel, under which sea spurts.

Why Aquaponics?

The initial cost of setting up a raise like Freshry Farms is very high- around Rs 20 to 25 lakhs for an acre. And five years later, Jegan is just about breaking even. But he believes that developing brand-new agricultural methodologies has an essential role in a sustainable future.

An integrated and holistic ecosystem is many times more efficient than a traditional raise. For instance, Jegan’s farm needs only a fifth of the sea a traditional farm needs. Moreover, techniques like aquaponics and hydroponics are the backbone of vertical gardens and farming.

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“Within the next 10 times, we should have sizable horizontal raises in the middle of metropolitans, even as a part of malls and builds, ” Jegan says, describing his hope for the future. It simultaneously solves the problems of seat and logistics.

“Even though my farm was expensive to set up, there are much cheaper ways of setting up smaller aquaponic and hydroponic raises, ” he contributes. In places where water and fertile grime are scarce, such raises will be economically and ecologically beneficial.

To share his findings with the world and to encourage more research in the field, Jegan has tied together with four universities in Tamil Nadu and two in Africa. Many students and researchers from India and around the world visit the aquaponics raise every year.

Aquaponics FarmCollege students seeing the farm for a 3-day teach

Dr Kayalvizhi Jayavel is an engineering professor at SRM College, Chennai, with an interest in IoT systems. “Shes had” saw the aquaponics farm two years ago to learn more about automation and IoT in an agricultural context.

“It was altogether a different event, ” says Dr Jayavel of the training, adding, “It was a brand-new culture by itself where you train yourself technically, currently there environmentally connected. We used to collect fresh veggies from “the farmers ” to cook, the best way to relax after each day’s training. In a nutshell, it was a very insightful and knowledge-building experience.”

( Edited by Yohita Rao)

Read more: thebetterindia.com