Conventional agriculture as we know it is associated with working tediously with hoe and machete, getting dirty in the fields with little or nothing to show for the labour exerted. However, advancement in technology now see farmers leveraging on hydroponics technology which requires less energy and time to get better yield with less soil or acres of land.
An agropreneur, Angel Adelaja, describes hydroponics as a process of growing plants without soil in water, saying it is a technology that makes nutrients readily available to plants for better and healthier growth.
At the annual candle lighting ceremony and commemoration of the International Women’s Day with the theme “Be bold for change” organised by the Business and Professional Women (BPW), Abuja, and Enterprise Development Centre (EDC), Abuja, she recommended the technology to farmers in the country.
She said: “Hydro means water and ponics means to grow. Under hydroponics you have aquaponics without water; has fish in it, and fish waste is actually growing the plant. Then you have aeroponics, which is turning the water into mist or fog and the fog is what feeds the plant nutrients, so the plants don’t actually need to go in the soil. They need the soil because of what is actually in it but just like humans if you take a fruit salad versus smoothie, there’s no difference in that one is liquid and the other is edible. In fact you digest the smoothie faster and better so that’s why people look stronger and fresher when they juice their fruits because they’re getting the nutrients faster. So, it’s the same thing with the plant, they don’t want to have to search for nutrients in the soil, they want to just get it. And so you see how healthier hydroponics plants look.”
Adelaja noted that the good thing about hydroponics is that farmers can farm year round and grow things that don’t normally grow in Nigeria using this method.
Speaking on how agriculture can be leveraged using the technology, the agropreneur said farmers could automate and regulate farming technologically to get more yield from their farm, pointing out that the beauty of hydroponics is that it can be retrofit to any environment and could be done indoors, outdoors, anywhere.
“So, we’re basically using hydroponics farming and we couple that with vehicle of farming so we can improve our yield on a square meter. So, we’re using the technology of hydroponics to improve on agriculture. We’re not just stopping there we also automate the process so with hydroponics you also need to understand the PH of your water, the nutrients.
“We’ve pretty much been able to automate the system and know what time the nutrients come, at this time, lights turn on,; the water is flowing in this way and you can be able to see it from off your phone, so that’s where technology meets agriculture, the beauty of it is that instead of farming with hoe and cutlass you’re sitting on a desk to put your seeds in and bring in a device that helps to grow your plants and it is still organic,” she added.
She further said the farm is interested in training women on how to make hydroponics systems, and how to be bold with hydroponics.
“So, you don’t necessarily have to do it in one level or a green house, you can do it in a container like I am doing, balcony, roof top or both. You can use hydroponics farming anywhere you have difficulty in getting access to land, you can use hydroponics farming to actually improve that,” she stated.
In her remarks, the national president of BPW, Yinka Ajibola, said the celebration aimed to bring women together and mobilise them to be bold to effect change in the society, saying BPW is all about empowering women to also empower other women.
According to her, “Today, we’re going to induct up to 30 members, in fact BPW is celebrating three things, we’re celebrating the international women’s day, we have the tradition of recognising what women do all over the world, BPW is an international organisation, it is an international federation of business and professional women, it has been in existence for 86 years. So, the candle lighting ceremony is an annual event where we celebrate what women have been doing in their various countries to empower other women. It is a global event celebrated by the BPW all over the world because it is near the women’s day and we decided to celebrate it together and in Nigeria we use this opportunity to welcome new members that’s been with us over the years and formally induct them into the organisation.”
Speaking to journalists, the liaison office manager for Enterprise Development Centre, Abuja, Ating Bearice, said the centre empowers women through training partnership and networking, adding they do a lot of things to help women build and own their businesses from the scratch.
“Women have the power within them to do more, what we need to do is to hold each other’s hands and push forward and you’ll get to see the amazing things we have inside of us blossom. At EDC our major aim is to build entrepreneurs and today being the international women’s day we come together to celebrate women in their different fields of endeavor,” she added.