Studies on agriculture reveal that it is a sector still suffering and struggling with economic losses in last years. In addition, there is also a fight against climate-related issues.
Rural territory is very exposed to climate change, as farming activities directly depend on climatic conditions.
Hydroculture has a key role to play in food provision and tackling global challenges such as water scarcity, food security, urbanization and reductions in energy use and food miles.
Hydroculture is per se an innovative farming method, since
- nutrients (from various sources) and vegetables are raised in an integrated system,
- in the future, the agriculture sector will need to produce more with less,
- contributes to create new employability skills and entrepreneurship capability for new green jobs opportunities.
The main advantages of using hydroculture (that entails hydroponics and aquaponics) to grow plants are that:
- No soil is necessary. And this is directly related to the EU recommendations to go to a reduction of soil consumption, in order to achieving the objectives of the Soil Thematic Strategy and the proposed Soil Framework Directive. A report ordered by the European Commission, 'Overview of best practices for limiting soil sealing or mitigating its effects in EU-27' and completed in April 2011 recommends, among others, to compensating valuable soil losses by action in some areas to offset drawbacks in eco-function, such should be the use of hydroculture.
- It’s stable and produces high yields.
- There is no high damage from pesticides, since these are limited.
- The controlled system means that very short nutrition pollution is released into the environment. Lower nutrient requirements due to control over nutrient levels.
- Lower water requirement as water stays in the system and can be reused. In a hydroponics system some chemical nutrients are used to feed plants. In an aquaponics system, fish feed is used instead, there’s a natural balance of nitrogen and water is never replaced, only topped up due to evaporation.
The core aim of the PONICS VET project is to build up:
- an innovative professional profile, the HYDROPONICS TECHNICIAN
- a training course for such a profile.
The project focuses on young farmers, or prospective ones. The idea is to provide them training in a specialization which is essential for the future of the agriculture, in a sustainable perspective that deals with protecting natural resources (such as soil and water), feeding people with maximum energy efficiency and fighting against food insecurity.