Hydroponic hi tech Farming - Invite to connect folks from Pune

Hi All,
I have been following Farmnest forum for some time and impressed with the discussions happening on this forum.
I am an IT Program Manager and currently working in USA. Farming is my passion and I am leaving my cushy corporate job to get into agriculture entrepreneurship. I think this time is right to get into “Future Industry”. I have read some interesting stories of “IT to Farming” on this forum. Kudos to all those IT folks who mustered courage to take this decision.

During my stint in US, I have done controlled Environment Engg. course in high tech greenhouse set up and corp production. I have also made some good connect with some of the GH experts who have done large commercial hydroponic projects.
India has huge potential for this technique but lack technical expertise and knowledge about GH management. There are many companies from Europe and US eagerly waiting for entering into Indian market. Very soon we will see some of the large corporates will get into this hi tech farming. If you put all the parameters and floating pieces together well, then there is bound to be success story. Otherwise, it will be disaster. Lot of meticulous planning is required.

I am looking for folks from Pune who have similar interest. Those who want to make a difference to current problematic situation of farming. Together we can implement lot of good ideas. Retail industry is growing by 30% y-o-y and they need high quality fresh produce grown locally. This itself is large opportunity to tap but it requires innovative models and funding. Group of dedicated folks can tap this opportunity.

Please mail me on udaymathapati@yahoo.com or leave your phone no. if you are interested in this venture and I will put more ideas to take this forward.

Regards
Uday

Hello,
I talk with so many people every one said that hydroponic fodder system is not viable option.

Kindly share your view?

[quote=“uday.mathapati”]
Hi All,
I have been following Farmnest forum for some time and impressed with the discussions happening on this forum.
I am an IT Program Manager and currently working in USA. Farming is my passion and I am leaving my cushy corporate job to get into agriculture entrepreneurship. I think this time is right to get into “Future Industry”…[/quote]

Thank you for starting this thread,
I agree with your observation regarding the need of fresh & quality produce in the market.
We as consumers demand quality & are willing to pay for it, whatever the product be. As producers its only fair of us to bring quality produce to the market.

When we look at the current agro industry, it has its merits & demerits. The “future Industry” has to succeed where the old one failed i.e to understand & fulfill its end user & her needs & wants.

I dream & work for a future where we as consumers has plenty of different varieties of veggies/fruits to choose from different producers with their own methods of growing [organic/sustainable/exotic flavor] at different price range that reflects its quality.
Also, as producers I dream of a viable, profitable & scalable business where we can satisfy different market needs & wants depending our taste, to enhance & nurture human life, to bring variety to the marketplace, experiment etc…

I believe there is room for all of us in this futuristic way of doing farming as a business for good & for profit, we need farmers, industrialists, entrepreneurs, marketers, environmentalists, biologists, engineers, designers & of course end users to join hands to make our dream come true.

Its great that there are a lot of noble souls working on it, with CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture), Hydroponics, Greenhouses, Organic practices etc… In this age of information & collaboration, we are lucky to have this forum for discussion. I urge everyone interested to join hands for this noble venture.

Lets keep our discussions on this forum for everyone to participate & gather info, i.e less PMs & emails, that would help more…

Hello Mr. Uday:
I am int wrested.  But I am based out of bangalore. Will be keen to see if we can take it across …
Regards
Srini

Hi Uday,
I am also interested, though I am based out of Assam near Guwahati, but I am actually trying to setup my soil less cultivation of  coloured bell pepper. I want to use cocopeat as growth media with macro and micro nutrients. Will prefer bio pesticides and organic fertilizers as much possible.

The first challenge is controlling the cost of setup. I am planning various low cost options like shadehouse with UV poly cover to protect from rain etc. I do not want to go for hitech polyhouse, because my budget won’t permit, neither it is required at my site. My site is very humid and temperature range is 10-35 degree.
If you can share some of your knoweldge on thsi and share your experience that would be excellent.

Thanks
-Rajdeep

Hi Uday
My self Ravindra Lende from Ghargaon, Sangamner on Nashik-Pune Highway. I have Shadenet house I am interested in ur project idea. Contract me 9860034456 or mail me ravilende@gmail.com.

it is wonderful Uday that you’re thinking of taking up Hydroponic farming as an enterprise which is i must say a very successful one only if done properly. Being said that i have been setting up Hydroponic Projects for my clients since the past 6 years now and have seen remarkable success and certain failures as well.
I have been trying to promote this wonderful farming method myself and asking farmers to try Hydroponics.
The only flip side here is the amount of money involved. Hydroponics requires an understanding of a lot of parameters and also to control and regulate them as per our needs which in turn requires us to go in for some degree of automation.
But the results that we get out of setting up such a project is truly remarkable. I can say that Hydroponics if done with proper guidance can give us an increase of more than 50 % in not just in quantity but also in quality.
For example lets take capsicum as an example. My clients have got tremendous yields numbering upto 120 tons per acre(1acre-4000sq mtr approx) in Controlled environment conditions. This is how wonderful this method can get.
Also one important thing to mention here is the difference in agro-climatic conditions in India and US which is the most critical factor for the success of any Hydroponic Method.
Here are my contact details. I would love to have a discussion and interact with every one over this
Monesh Rathod +91 9619000500
moneshrathod@gmail.com

Hi Uday,

I am an IIT graduate and am highly interested in hydroponic cultivation. At present too I do a little bit of farming though using regular soil as a substrate and cultivation of flowers and vegetables in the greenhouse but using conventional methods of farming. This is not sustainable any longer and one has to adopt newer methods of cultivation on larger scales to have economies of scale. I am based out of Hyderabad and would certainly like to join you in your endevour to set up a large scale hydroponic unit. I also have a friend who has a huge farm about 100 kms from the Hyderabad airport with sufficient quantity of water available. My contact details: nitinram@gmail.com, tel: 09391669411.

Nitin Rameshchandra.

Wow…thank you folks for showing your interest and giving some inputs on this topic.

@ G Paul, - Your comments were very apt when you said "there is room for all of us in this futuristic way of doing farming as a business for good & for profit, we need farmers, industrialists, entrepreneurs, marketers, environmentalists, biologists, engineers, designers & of course end users to join hands to make our dream come true "
I am completely believe that CEA requires expertise from all fields and different perspective to manage new market expectation.

@Revindra Lende - I appreciate that you are already doing efforts in that direction. We will take it to next level. I will touch base with you.

@Monesh Rathod - We appreciate your work in this new area. Your expertise in this area will surely help us to enrich our knowledge. As you rightly said "Hydroponics requires an understanding of a lot of parameters and also to control and regulate them as per our needs which in turn requires us to go in for some degree of automation. "
Automation is the key and gives less chances for error. By automation we are not eliminating the human efforts at all. We are trying to bring efficiently to his work so that he can control the crop in systematic fashion. 

I know USA and India has different climatic conditions and we have to take that factor into consideration. The biggest advantages for India is close to 365 days of sunshine. We can utilize this thermal energy for our growing. We dont’ need heating equipment extensively was they do in USA due to snowfall. We are tropical country and have tremendous advantage over other countries. We can be vegetable hub for globe. That’s my dream. May be its too BIG dream but that’s what I am envisaging.

For you folks, I am providing a link of one leading company in USA which is my model company to follow. Have a look at their gigantic greenhouse. I eat their quality produce in retail store here in USA. Nobody can come close to them in quality and packaging.
In my next post, I would like to talk about “Food Safety” and “Food Tractability”. Hydroponic farming will address both of these burning issues. These would be the next big issue for the whole world.

villagefarms.com/
Just click on video of company’s CEO below. People, Passion and Perseverance.  - What a great way of connecting 3 important things.

Let me know your thoughts. I am reaching out to individuals and understanding their passion and building a team. Happy reading.

Thanks Uday for sharing the details.
One question which comes in my mind is, for a small farmer like me, it is a double whammy, in one side setting up such a sophisticated farming setting will cost a bomb and in the other side, we have to compete with the product in the market which is damn cheap.

Let us take the example of tomato, in mandi the prices drops like anything, I have even seen 2-3/- per kg, considering that my produce from green house will be of superb quality the vendors will pay me double the amount, but not beyond it, in that case how will I be able to sustain.

Can’t we design something which is low cost setup, but use hydroponics so that we get the edge of quality and quantity without making huge investment? I know there is no easy answer but if we truly dream to make India the bread basket of the world, then I feel we have to work something in this line.

I am myself is trying to work out something, and my first target is low cost green house.

Thanks
-Rajdeep

Hi All,
Good to see this. I am working in this field - Greenhouse/Hydroponics, and currently working in Pune/Mumbai.
I will be happy to contribute.
shyambhadane@gmail.com

Hi Shyam,
Please share your knowledge so that we all here can benefit out of it.

Thanks
-Rajdeep

Hi Rajdeep,
Thanks for raising your doubts. Your thinking is in right direction. Here is my thoughts on this,

When we are producing something hydroponically and in controlled environment then it means we are trying to produce something of high quality which has less pesticide, disease free variety which has good amount of nutrition quality. And biggest thing is that you want to give this quality product to customer in very minimal time from harvest. That means Fresh food on plate.
Do we really want to see such produce at cheap rate such as Rs 2-3 per kg in local subji market? Is that your intention to make money?

Your market for quality produce is very different. And there is a huge market for such quality produce. Never ever compare your produce with Locally grown soil-based produce. Today, world is concern about Food safety since its directly affecting their health.

Would anybody want to eat Rs 3 kg tomato which is rotten, have high pesticide on it, carry disease inside which is not visible to eyes? Those who don’t have option will probably eat for survival. But common man will look for better quality at reasonable price.

Very recently, there is a tremendous traction in online grocery retailing. Check out some of the online grocers site such as Greentokari, Localbaniya, Godrej Fresh. All of them have started selling fresh vegetable online. Will you believe it? Look at their price charts for quality produce. Tomato are being sold Rs 35 Kg. Important cherry tomato are sold at Rs 2000 per Kg. Yes this is the price they are selling and there are folks who are buying this. This should be your market. How to capture this market is what I am working on.

Having low cast Greenhouse is good idea and we should strive to make it happen for making India hub for large food production. But it require lot of research and its happening now.
Biggest advantage for India is climate so that we save huge energy cost on heating greenhouses unlike USA. We can also utilize geothermal or Solar energy to run our greenhouse. But practically lot of research needs to be done before we get there. Our government does not provide funding for such research projects otherwise we have huge potential.

Another point is, when you produce quantity is increased by 50% due to technoloty, you can benefit from economy of scale to arrive at reasonable price. That’s the dilemma we have. Go small with high price or go Big with reasonable price.