New research to boost hydroponic farming production begins in Tshwane, South Africa

Using the wrong growing medium can have a devastating effect on produce, including stunting the plant’s growth and even killing it.

New research undertaken by the City of Tshwane Agriculture, the Rural Development Division, the Agricultural Research Council’s Biometry Unit and the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), will examine if reusing these materials will reduce farming costs.

In the three-year log experiment which uses hydroponically grown tomatoes, researchers will also observe whether the reused growing medium will maintain the growth, yield and quality of the crop. “Due to the ever-increasing cost of growing mediums, hydroponic farmers end up going back to conventional farming practices,” said Tshwane City’s Environment and Agriculture MMC Katlego Mathebe.

“Reusing growing mediums would encourage continued and sustainable hydroponic farming practices,” Mathebe said. The research project includes farmers, experiential training students and agricultural advisors as part of running the project.  The research initiative is funded by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRRD) and it is located at the Rooiwal and Soshanguve Agri-parks, with an expected completion date of March 2023.

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