Using technology to enhance farming without soil

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In this photo-gallery and podcast interview, we showcase how Samuel Mbugua and Wachira Mwangi, biochemist graduates of the University of Nairobi, are using biochemist concepts and integrating it with that of the internet to enhance farming through hydroponic farming innovation, which is the process of growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil
Mbugua tells SciDev.Net that it can help in addressing existing challenges like climate change, lack of food, unemployment as well as scarcity of productive land faced by many, especially the youth and young graduates. Through their Grandeur Africa Limited firm they hope to train and equip farmers with the requisite skills for operating their own hydroponic structures.

Hydroponic farming innovation, growing plants in sand, gravel, or liquid, with added nutrients but without soil. Click here to download this audio [3.9 MB].

The two young farmers demonstrate how innovation works. Twenty-seven-year-old Mbugua says they farm vertically in a small land where they use 1.2 liters of water to get one kilogram of fodder harvested after seven days from planting to feed their livestock grazed in the same premise. Recycling of water, which is a scarce commodity, ensures sustainability.
According to Mbugua other farmers visit their premises to learn about the technology, and they transfer the same techniques to them. He says that food security is crucial, especially in urban areas because of land scarcity as well as growing population.
Wachira Mwangi, his partner, says that elimination of plant diseases like fungus and pests is easy using this technique, and together they are exploring planting small leafy vegetables, for instance, spinach, coriander, and strawberries in tins and pipes filled with aerated rocks with soluble nutrients as an extension of their venture.

This multi-media piece was produced by SciDev.Net’s Sub-Saharan Africa English desk.