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Hydroponic Farming: A Modern Way of Addressing Production Constraints of Tomato Farming

Muyiwa Abiodun OKUSANYAa; Samuel Dare OLUWAGBAYIDE & Christopher Bamidele OGUNLADE, Volume 5 Issue 1, July 2024 Pages 183-199, Published: 2024-07-03


Tomato is one of the highly patronized vegetable crops of choice in Nigeria. It is used for cooking in various recipes. Given the year-round demand for tomatoes, growing them may be a profitable venture that creates jobs. Over the years, the primary factors limiting tomato production have been variable rainfall, elevated temperatures, infestation of pests and diseases, low soil fertility, labor scarcity, and supply seasonality. This research innovation is aimed at developing ebb and flow hydroponic system that can overcome production constraints that limit the potential profit margins associated with tomato farming. Hydroponic farming is the industry term of growing plants without soil in nutrient solutions. Vermiculite, sawdust, coconut coir, perlite, and rockwool are among the artificial media that are frequently used for plant support. Tomatoes are first cultivated in nursery trays before they are moved into the selected hydroponic system (ebb and flow). In milligrams per liter (mg/L) or parts per million (ppm), the concentration of nutrients is changed at different stages of growth. The statistical model employed to comprehend the link between the two assessment variables—the response variable x (EC/pH) and the predictor y (days after transplanting), was linear regression. There is a 95% confidence level that there is a linear relationship between the EC/pH of the nutrient solution and the number of days after tomato transplanting because the significance F and p values are less than 0.05. For electrical conductivity (EC), the model equation from the assessment study is y = 0.025 x + 2.0 ± 0.795, and for the pH of the nutrient solution, it is y = 0.019 x + 5.17 ± 0.175. The machine was developed at a reasonable cost of ₦ 212,200, or $141.47. Tomatoes grown in hydroponic systems have an average yield potential of 4.5 kg to 18 kg per stand, which is four times higher than that of conventional farming. Promoting hydroponic tomato farming technology nationwide will boost farmers' income potential, create job opportunities, and boost the local economy in the areas where it is used.