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Realty Sector Stretches Arms to Embrace Green The concept of growing fruits and vegetables on building premises is picking up in cities as more people want home-grown fruits and vegetables

By Vidip Jatia

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Real estate sector has entered into a new era where developers are providing unique amenities to lure customers. Designers, developers, and owners are using ways to minimize the operating costs and environmental impacts on buildings, while also increasing their functionality and appeal to occupants. Adding 'green' features in buildings is a recent trend observed in the sector. Space has always been an issue in city with development being vertical especially in cities, thus depriving them from nature and other amenities that require more space.

Bringing in Nature the New Home Truth

In such circumstances, having your own garden where you can grow your favorite vegetables, flowers and fruits in your apartment itself is a challenge and an impossible prospect. This concept is known on the outskirts of the city, where people have farmhouses and can enjoy gardening within the premises and be close to the nature. This concept of growing fruits and vegetables on the premises is picking up in cities as well. More people staying in apartments want home-grown fruits and vegetables. Developers are now tapping such niche people who want apartments that provide better lifestyle with comfort, convenience and are environmental friendly.

Picking up on this trend, few developers are providing the facility of organic farming within the apartment premises. Food from organic farming is rich with nutrients, as compared to food produced through conventional farming. Organic farming enhances soil nutrients, which is passed on to the plants. According to a study, organic fruits and vegetables have several measurable nutritional benefits over conventional crops. Organic farming prohibits the use of chemical pesticides that are widely used in conventional farming. Notably, when a plant grows organically without pesticides its taste is enhanced as well. The sugar content in organically grown fruits and vegetables provides them with extra taste. Even the government of India is promoting organic food in the country through National Project on Organic Farming (NPOF) scheme.

Organic Farming in Apartments Picking up Fast in India

The potential of organic farming in India is very huge because of its immense bio-diversity and natural resources in the country. The concept of hydroponic/organic farming in apartments, which is common in West, is picking up rapidly in India. Hydroponic farming is a sustainable method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water but without soil. Main advantage of hydroponics farming is that, the plants which can't be traditionally grown exposing to climate can be possibly grown a controlled environment. Hydroponics allows people to grow plants/vegetables much more densely than conventional agriculture does and the yield is much more per square feet of space.

Integrating Agriculture into Existing Realty Infrastructure

People these days are developing more interest in learning about their food choices, which helps prepare fresh and healthy food at home. Developers should understand this trend and provide such unique amenities like hydroponic farming, which can add value to their project by offering such unique amenities to their customers. Facility to grow food within their apartment or project premises can add a lot of value to the customers as well. Indeed, people view hydroponic farming as an added amenity for residents, similar to a gym or a media lounge. Food activists are starting to see the long-term benefits of integrating agriculture into existing or new infrastructure.

Hydroponics is the fastest growing sector of agriculture and it could very well dominate food production in the future. Today, developers are slowly adapting the use of hydroponics, and researchers are looking more closely at how it could solve future food problems. Water in a hydroponic system can be recycled -- one of the most efficient features of a hydroponic farm. A hydroponic farm only uses 10% of the water as compared to a normal farm. In days where there is a lot of space crunch in the properties, developers are providing area for such farms to develop within the premises by looking at the future perspective. There are various agro companies that are managing such setups in projects.

Hydroponics to Boost Indian Horticulture

With the introduction of these farms at one's project, the concept of a farmhouse is fading. Some developers in Pune are now providing organic products at the doorstep. This new concept has not only made life easy for the residents but also convenient for them. It breaks the stereotype of visiting the local groceries and vegetable markets and having a difficulty to pick fresh food amongst the choices available.

Your grocery bill and visits to vegetable market will go down as you begin to stock your pantry with fresh produce from the backyard. This concept focuses on creating long-term value for residents with fitness and healthy living. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables is one of the most important things you and your family can do to stay healthy. Planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting also add purposeful physical activity to your day. Hydroponic farming also makes people enjoy better tasting food than conventionally grown food. The activity will also allow the citizens to enjoy year-round local produce without any expense and delay of import. With the advent of hydroponics in India, Indian horticulture industry is bound to grow leaps and bounds.

Vidip Jatia

Director, Belmac

Vidip Jatia is the Director of Belmac.

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