Food is a basic human need that can be addressed by modern agriculture provided that there is adequate space and appropriate skills to raise them. Increasing demands brought by population growth have prompted agriculturists to explore alternative ways of raising crops and live stocks. One of these methods is producing vegetables through the Simple Nutrient Addition Program (SNAP) Hydroponics. SNAP Hydroponics is basically growing plants without soil. Instead, it uses an inert media and a nutrient solution containing essential elements needed by plants to grow. This technology was designed to create a reliable and low cost system suitable for urban farming and small backyard vegetable growing.
Agricultural scientists from the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) of UP Los Baños found out that this type of farming can benefit urban communities and developed on it. Aside from taking up minimal space, SNAP Hydroponics can be done using cheap supplies and materials that can be recovered from recyclable materials. Its low technology inputs make hydroponics an interesting and practical way of growing selected crops. It is appropriate for the urban setting as a backyard garden production for family consumption or as a livelihood enterprise.
The DOST-NCR saw the huge potential of the technology in the National Capital Region and is
SNAP Hydroponics: Farming in the City and the Slums
Written by jon Wednesday, 04 July 2012 16:03 - Last Updated Friday, 06 July 2012 14:50
currently actively promoting its adoption through the conduct of lecture-seminars cum demonstrations and the provision of complimentary SNAP Hydroponics Kits to community-based livelihood enterprises. These kits are made up of used styrofoam boxes (from fresh grapes trading), used styrofoam cups, coconut coir dust as potting media, lettuce seedlings and a concentrated complete plant nutrient solution. A successful adoption of the technology as a community-based livelihood enterprise was implemented in a project in Concepcion Uno, Marikina City by the Twinville Homeowners’ Association, Inc. (THAI) in partnership with DOST-PCAARD, DOST-NCR and the City Government of Marikina. THAI utilized a vacant 750 sq. m lot in their subdivision to house 1.440 units of SNAP Hydroponics kits in a greenhouse type structure. The Project is now a self-sustaining enterprise providing a productive outlet for volunteering senior citizens in the community. By middle of this year, the enterprise is expected to grow further into a fully income generating business.
The SNAP Hydroponics system can help alleviate hunger and malnutrition by enabling the growing of vegetables in a limited space. Urban farming through the system can encourage city folks to grow high-value vegetables that can be served fresh on their table or as income generating enterprise. This technology promotes sustainable ecosystems and can produce fresh vegetables to augment the diet of impoverished members of the community. It is not only a livelihood opportunity and a means to food security but also a way to an affordable and healthier diet.