Is there enough food being produced to sustain the increasing population?

Current trends vs. Future demand

 

In the coming decades, crop production is expected to grow by over 100%, depending on assumptions. But the yield of most major crops is not rising rapidly enough to meet the demand. Based on the current crop yield, the researchers are suggested production will be boosted by approx. 67% for maize, 55% for soybeans, 42% for rice, and 38% for wheat. 

 

One of the ways of meeting food needs in the future can be hydroponics – production of plants without soil, using nutrient-rich solutions for delivering water and needed minerals to the roots. It is being used for increasing the farming outputs and growing plants in habitats where the crops cannot be sustained in normal conditions.

 

 

How does hydroponics work?

 

In conventional agriculture, the soil usually supports the roots of the plants and helps them remain uptight while providing the nutrients needed for adequate growth. In hydroponics, on the other hand, the plants are supported artificially and the nutrients are provided by a solution of ionic compounds.

 

The thinking is fairly simple. Environmental factors limit the plant growth and by applying the nutrient solution directly to the root of plants in a controlled environment, the farmers can ensure plants always have an optimal supply of nutrients and plants. Nutritional efficiency will make the plant more productive. 

How difficult is it to implement hydroponics?

 

Running and maintaining a hydroponic-based system can be quite complex as the plants need over a dozen essential nutrients. The amount of each varies according to the local conditions, growth stage, and species.

 

Additionally, there are nutrients that get absorbed quicker than others causing the build-up of both positive and negative ions in the solution. This hinders the absorption of nutrients because the update is pH-dependent and also because an extra quantity of some of them will prevent the update of others. 

 

Common hydroponic crops

 

Theoretically, hydroponic techniques can be used for the production of any crop. However, this technique is commonly used with plants like tomatoes as they grow more efficiently under hydroponic conditions. Others include cucumbers, salad greens, peppers, herbs, and the most common ones are tomatoes.

 

The farmers use hydroponics with different variants of tomato that have special characteristics that are bred into them such as growing indeterminately and bearing larger fruit. The disease-resistant varieties are popular as they allow the plants to live longer and bear more production.

 

Crops like wheat that aren’t genetically suited to hydroponics need to be avoided The research has shown that using this system for growth of wheat for producing a loaf of bread will cost approx. $23.

 

 

How to bridge between the gap between the demand and production of food?

 

Experts are observing large variations in yield all over the world, even in the areas having similar growing conditions. The yield can be boosted by implementing hydroponics and by improving nutrient and water supplies to crops.

 

In different parts of the world, all problems need to be addressed concerning the distribution, market infrastructure, and access to appropriate seed varieties. Hydroponics has helped the farmers a great deal in bridging the gap between the demand and production of food.

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