Wageningen UR, the Netherlands:

Simple soilless cultivation for growers in Asia or Africa

Looking abroad you see the wish to grow out of the soil. In the horticultural sector we have to adapt the growing systems to local standards, especially for Low-Tech. In High-Tech and Mid-Tech the Dutch industry can deliver everything that is needed. For Low-Tech we have to look to the past to develop simple and robust systems adapted with present day equipment.

For growers in Asia or Africa it must be possible to start with a simple system, to produce for the local market, to earn money and to expand to Mid-Tech. We develop, based on the (local) substrate used, an optimal irrigation strategy and teach the growers how to fertilize with, for example, mixed fertilizers and to reuse rainwater for other crops. It is a challenge to find suitable, cheap materials and to start automation in such a way that after the first earnings a sustainable soilless growth to Mid-Tech can be achieved.

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