STAFF REPORT IBD: Through the hydroponic vegetable techniques, farmers can get between 450 and 550 tons of vegetables per acre as compared to the average yield of 15 tons per acre from traditional farming, according to Fareed Farmhouse Project Director Rana Zahid.

He said that hydroponic farms are unique in a way that they do not require any fertile soil. Indeed many of the worlds largest hydroponic farms are set up in the deserts of the Middle East or unfertile soils in other parts of the world. Seeds are placed in a growing medium – which can be either solid or liquid – in trays made from steel pipes. The advantage of this system is that nearly all of the nutrients poured into the growing medium are absorbed by the plant, making it exponentially more efficient and increasing productivity manifold, he explained.

Rana has set a up a small company just outside Faisalabad called Fareed Farmhouse, where he produces three varieties of tomato (cherry tomato, strawberry tomato, beef tomato), cucumber and capsicum. His production capacity is significantly above the norm. He uses coconut waste imported from Sri Lanka as the solid medium in which he grows his plants. The vegetable plants are then irrigated through a water injection system. Fareed Farm uses reverse osmosis water purification systems to ensure the quality of the water.

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