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Indian hydroponic venture serving growing markets

Sachin and Shwetha Darbarwar of Simply Fresh have been cultivating exotic flowers, vegetables, fruits and leaves in almost two acres of land through hydroponic farming and are now the biggest and the sole suppliers of all salad leaves, exotic berries, salad veggies, and edible flowers to almost all leading star hotels in Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Mumbai.

Their farm is digitally controlled by bit data, which determines and detects climate conditions and requirements for the plants and alters the environment to suit their needs. Sachin spent three years learning the process in Australia and later developing the technique.

From kale, to rocket leaves, romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce and red leaf lettuce they grow as if they belong to the city’s climate. Different cultivations are grouped together to make the best use of the climatic conditions that have been created here. “The walls of some greenhouses are made using sustainable paper. Water passes through the gaps to keep it cool and then the exhaust fans are used to create humid to dry weather conditions. The plant beds are all monitored and so are the amounts of nutrients that are provided. It is like feeding a child the right amount of food at regular intervals for them to grow,” explains Sachin.

Sachin and Shwetha however were not farmers all their lives. As their son picks raspberries and strawberries, Sachin says, “Our aim was to make available to everyone nutritious food which is free of chemicals and pesticides. Any of our products can be eaten straight from the packet. According to me, washing my produce in chlorine water can contaminate them,” he smiles.

Having been a software developer at a bank in Australia for several years, Sachin and his wife wanted to return to their country to take up farming. “Even though hydroponics isn't new in Western countries, it is relatively new here. We were keen on trying it here. In the process, we incurred losses but we were not ready to give up. After a lot of trial and error we have reached this stage. Everyone has been very supportive after seeing our products,” says Sachin.

Read more at The Hindu (Prabalika M. Borah)

Publication date: 8/21/2017


 


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