Hydroponics option to tackle youth unemployment

Yangyel Lhaden

In order to attract young people to modern agriculture, which uses intelligent agricultural technologies in conjunction with technologies of the Internet of Things, the Ministry of Agriculture is looking for suggestions for support.

The Department of Agricultural Production (APD) of the ministry has invited proposals from interested young entrepreneurs wishing to take up hydroponic farming and has received five proposals so far.

APD’s deputy chief horticulture officer, Tsheltrim, said they are targeting youth as rising youth unemployment is a problem for many Young returnees from overseas have been fired and interventions to keep them in a normal mode may be pointless. The department received a budget to improve and promote hydroponics. “

The basic prerequisites for the projects are 20 percent equity from individuals and properties that are owned or leased must be secured. The proposals are checked for authenticity, seriousness and areas for funding by the fund.

He said proponents would table their proposal by the end of this month and if project proposals exceed budget available, the proposal will be further considered at the departmental level. “The upper limit depends on the proposals and areas that we can support.”

Individuals after the project proposal has been approved will receive materials and equipment to build a hydroponic system. Individuals are also consistently monitored and trained by researchers from the Agricultural Research and Development Center.

Tsheltrim said they will also use the experience of existing private hydroponics to train youngsters.

Unlike traditional agriculture, hydroponics is not labor intensive and a farmer only needs to monitor the pH, temperature and nutrient levels in the water with instruments. The system can grow plants and vegetables much faster than conventional soil in soil with less water and in a small space.

Tsheltrim said the researchers are confident of promoting hydroponics after several studies. “Officials are able to provide technical support in developing hydroponic systems and adapting systems to our location.”

He said nutrient formulation is one of the challenges of hydroponics and several trials have been conducted on plants to formulate our own nutrient composition. “Only tested and proven nutritional formulas are passed on to young people.”

Tsheltrim said the project’s long-term goal is to promote gender-friendly growing options that could produce more in a smaller area, reduce drudgery, and reduce the incidence of pests and disease.

He said hydroponics is an option for future farming in urban and peri-urban areas where land and water are a constraint.

Published by Tshering Palden

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