For most of us, farming involves a piece of land, a source of water and a farmer. However, there is also an alternative that narrows down one’s requirement for farming to limited space and water consumption. Yumnam Neeraj, 30, is dabbling in the concept of hydroponic farming, a process that helps him save up to 80-90% water and grow world-class crops.
Yumnam dipped his toes into hydroponic farming in 2013, when he came across the concept on TV. He then started reading journals, articles and research papers on Hydroponic farming as part of his master’s research program. Finally, in 2019, he started ‘Urban Farms Manipur’ and has been practising urban farming ever since.
The hydroponic system allows farmers to grow food from anywhere in the world. It also reduces carbon footprint, making it a sustainable alternative in the long run. Since it is usually implemented indoors because of the environmental control it offers, the practice provides near-perfect growing conditions that help plants grow stronger and faster. Yumnam believes the system is easily adaptable and will help farmers across the state.
Yumnam initially started with 50 plants and gradually expanded his terrace farm, which now has a capacity of over 1,500 plants. At present, he is mostly engaged in planting bok choy, lettuce, sweet basil, kale and other exotic herbs. Mizuna, also known as Japanese mustard, is one of the newest additions with 300 plants in his soilless farm.
He also provides training sessions to anyone who wishes to learn about Hydroponic farming. So far, Yumnam has successfully trained more than 20 enthusiasts.