The huge profit margins yielded by hydroponic farming add great excitement to many people. The reason is- it justifies the decision to start the hydroponic business by generating a profitable return. So, if you are thinking of starting with hydroponic farming at your terrace then just jump start with it. To build a profitable hydroponic garden at the terrace the only thing that you need is the right hydroponic equipment. With the right equipment, you can save time and can gain better profit margins in a short duration.
This article will give you a clear picture of the kind of investment that you need to make and the profit margin that you can yield.
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Profitable Hydroponic Terrace Garden
Create a proper layout of your terrace and plan the garden accordingly. For building a profitable hydroponic garden at the terrace, you need to consider the most appropriate hydroponic system. You can choose any one of the hydroponic systems from deep water culture (DWC), wicking system, nutrient film technique (NFT) system, ebb and flow hydroponic system, and drip system; for launching your hydroponic terrace garden.
- Deep Water Culture or as popularly known – the DWC system gets recognised for being the easiest hydroponic system. It is a DO-IT-YOURSELF system whereby you can grow plants by submerging the roots directly into the water with rich nutrients.
- Wick system for hydroponic farming does not need any kind of pumps, motors, or movable equipment. It is limited to any kind of mechanical support and uses wicks to deliver water to the respective plants.
- The nutrient film technique or the NFT hydroponic system uses shallow water streams. These streams comprise the dissolved content of necessary nutrients that the hybrid plants need to grow on a full-fledged basis. Being re-circulatory in structure, NFT undergoes watertight channels and restricts any waste.
- Ebb & Flow hydroponic system or the Flood & drain system uses the force of gravity to re-circulate the nutrients rich water to and fro from the reservoir. Though gravity is the key, this system also uses a small pump, which is connected with a timer for regular repetition of the water flow to the plants.
- Drip hydroponic system uses the power of the pump to distribute nutrients rich water to the plants in due intervals. Recognised as an irrigation system in microform, the drip system uses a small number of emitters so that the nutrient solution can drip directly to the plants.
Remember that your selected hydroponic system must be well supported by branded and trusted hydroponic equipment. Since the pieces of equipment are for onetime investment make sure that you get the best of the brands and facilities.
With this upcoming trend of building a hydroponic garden at terraces, the benefits start with the inception of the concept. Just by the plan of it, you reduce the usage of land and water by 50% and 90% respectively. However, it is important to note here that considering hydroponic farming at your terrace can get the commercially profitable edge only by appropriate training process, professional setup, and initial investments.
Onetime Set Up Investment
Let us start with the investment count. For a hydroponic garden at your terrace of say 2000 feet2, you need to make a one-time set up investment. Since hydroponic garden comes under the category of ‘controlled environmental agriculture (or the CEA), the set up cost is comparatively higher than any field farming.
The initial cost starts with the construction of the Polyhouse or the Greenhouse at your terrace. The cost of this construct depends on the cost of living of your location. In India, the tentative cost can be somewhere between 2 to 2.5 lakhs of rupees.
The next investment is in the Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) for the selected hydroponic system. In this system, you would need pipes of two different sizes and pipe connectors. The estimated cost for these pipes, connectors and the entire frame would be around 50 to 60 lakhs. This facility will comprise the water tank, pumps, cooler and RO (Reverse Osmosis) system, pH (to check acidity/ alkalinity levels) and TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meters.
Note that the labour cost, electricity cost, cost of fertilizers, hydroponics nutrients, maintenance cost, harvesting, packaging & transportation are though added within the aforementioned amount, yet are subject to your choices. You can opt to have hydroponic farming training in India for better professional involvement and results.
About the investment for the one-time set up of the hydroponic garden at your terrace, it is worth considering the profit margin that your garden will yield. If you consider growing lettuce, then your onetime set up investment would be ₹ 770300 for a year, with a break up of:
- Poly-sheet house shelter: ₹ 250000
- NFT system: ₹ 51000
- Labour cost: ₹ 10000
The return on this investment would be:
- Total number of crops = 5280
- Selling price of crop (per kg) = ₹ 150
Total earnings per year= ₹ 792000, which will lead to a net profit of ₹ 330970 per year.
However, for the selected terrace area of 2000 feet2, you must select a plant that can justify your investment. We would suggest that instead of selecting any vegetable, you should try a hand on exotic spices and herbs.
The Right Selection: Exotic Spices and Herbs
With exotic spices and herbs at your terrace garden, you can plan to earn extraordinary returns. Some of the expensive spices would be Saffron, Vanilla, Asafoetida; whereas exotic herbs would be something like, Epazote and Poppy Seeds.
Due to their limited availability in the market, the spices and herbs like saffron with ₹3.5 lakhs per kg, vanilla with ₹4,500 per kg; Asafoetida with ₹4500 per kg, Epazote with ₹3,769 per kg, and Poppy Seeds with ₹1,200 per kg; can bring INR 10 to 25 core very easily to your account.
Finally, before you start, make sure that the growing area for the selected exotic spice or herb is well equipped with the right kind of environment. Along with the aforementioned suggestions, you need to construct the hydroponic system in such a way that every plant that you grow gets an equal amount of light, temperature, water, and hydroponics nutrients. Any kind of variation or negligence can lead to poor growth of the plants.