A woman starts country’s first private hydroponics farm

Hydroponics farming is growing crops without soil, often called soilless farming

Curious about growing vegetables in water, a mother of two, Kinley Wangmo, started the Bhutan Hydroponics on a small scale in a greenhouse at Changzamtog in Thimphu.

Kinley Wangmo started the farm in February this year for self-consumption.

She said that she started hydroponics farming given our dependence on the neighboring countries for vegetables, which contain pesticides.

“I intended to start this business because I also had curiosity of growing vegetables in water, without soil, which is extremely hygienic and no chemical pesticides are used,” she added.

Hydroponics farming is growing crops without soil, often called soilless farming. In hydroponics farming, the plant roots grow in a liquid nutrient solution. The liquid nutrient solution is a mixture of essential plant nutrients in the water.

Meanwhile, Kinley Wangmo has no formal training on hydroponics farming. Given her keen interest in farming in water, she said she took online training from the Chief Executive Officer of Urban Hydroponics Farm at Uttar Pradesh in India, Vikas Sigh Rajput.

According to her, the advantages of hydroponics farming are that it gives faster growth, more yields, no weeding is required, need not worry about pest, is hygienic and saves 95% of the water, which is reusable as compared to traditional cultivation method.

She said that she brings her raw materials and hydroponics kits and accessories from India.

“I have made hydroponics accessories myself since they are very expensive if we are to import readymade materials,” said Kinley Wangmo, who is currently growing strawberry, chili, tomato, cauliflower and broccoli in her hydroponics garden.

In hydroponics, the roots of the plant have constant access to an unlimited supply of oxygen, as well as access to water. This is particularly important as a common error when growing food over or under-watering.

Hydroponics eliminates this error margin, as quantities of water, mineral salts, and oxygen are controlled. 

Other benefits of hydroponics technology include the ability to better control the plant’s nutrition, a visible improvement in quantity and yields, a shortening of the growth interval for many plants, a high propagation success rate, savings on fertilizers, the absence of pesticides and herbicides, and a more efficient use of space.  

Though she has not approached any government organizations for any support, Kinley Wangmo said that many government officials have visited her place and given her assurance that they will support her in the future. 

Kinley Wangmo said that she had spent all her little savings on setting up the hydroponics farm, which had cost her around Nu 360,000.  

She said that Bhutan Hydroponics also focuses on His Majesty’s vision of self-sufficiency.  

“By doing hydroponics farming in our country, we no longer have to be dependent on others for vegetables,” Kinley Wangmo said, adding that she plans to approach schools, institutions, colleges and Dratshangs and inspire them on hydroponics farming.  

She also has a plan to open a training center of hydroponics farming in the country. “I also have a plan to fabricate the hydroponics system and sell at minimal cost,” she said. 

Kinley Wangmo has also approached the National Credit Guarantee Scheme for loan to upgrade her hydroponics farm. 

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu