Chennai-based biotechnology graduate Rahul Dhoka’s rooftop looks like a maze. Only, it’s a maze of over 6,000 organically grown leafy vegetables and herbs such as carrom, kale, lettuce, and spinach.
These vegetables, grown in planters made of PVC pipes that have taken over his 90 square feet rooftop, are grown using hydroponics technique—a method of growing plants in nutrient rich water instead of soil. Non-commercial hydroponics farming does not require large spaces and can be grown on rooftops like Dhoka’s or even in a smaller set-up such as a doorstep. They can also be designed as vertical farms to optimize the land area.
In 2016, Dhoka got into hydroponics as a hobby, and three years later, once he mastered the technique and learnt how to create different design structures, he founded Acqua Farms, a consultancy startup that helps people set up their own hydroponics farms.
Dhoka told KrASIA that the consumer interest in hydroponics has increased dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic as people have become more conscious of what they eat and want to know where their food comes from.
“My revenue in the first two to three months of COVID-19 was almost the same as the entire previous year’s,” said Dhoka, founder and CEO of Acqua Farms.