World
population is expected to grow from 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion between 2007 and
2050. 1 Virtually all of the
2.5 billion increases will occur in the developing world’s urban areas (UNDESA,
2008). 1. India’s urban population is approximately
330 million and is expected to grow to 404 million by 20502. In such a
populous country the resources to maintain food security are scarcer. If crop
failures occur or there are shortages of food due to natural calamities then
urban poor and the urban middle that are dependent on the food resources such
as markets are affected by the adverse food prices. Often urban areas do not
have sufficient space for farming. Urban area’s surplus independency is
difficult to achieve due to insufficient space for farming. Also,
peri-urban farms and vacant lots are being demolished to make way for new
buildings. These developments take arable land and push farmers onto land with
low fertility and production capacity 3.

 

Urban and rural areas are connected through
good, services and people; hence urban security depends on the resources
present in rural areas, but, working urban class may not be able to
devote time to take care of plants 4.  Therefore a system which solves
problems like complete manual monitoring of plants and foreshadowing concerns
like food insecurity, water wastage, etc. is required.

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Hence it is pivotal to use alternate methods
to reduce strain on the resources of rural areas for surplus and create urban
surplus independency. Pollution due to agriculture is a significant threat to
biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems 2. Urban agriculture plays an important
role in enhancing urban food security. Urban agriculture to a large extent
complements rural agriculture and increases the efficiency of the national food
system, also in that it provides products that rural agriculture cannot supply
easily, that can substitute for food imports and can release rural lands for
export production of commodities 3, 5.

 

A technique called hydroponics which uses a soil less medium to grow
plants can improve the scenario. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in
water based nutrient rich solution. 6 This technique aims at
relatively faster and healthy growth of plants as the system will provide the plants exactly what it need, so the plants
will focus more on growing instead of expanding the root system 6.  There are various techniques in which
Hydroponics systems can be implemented: Recovery Drip system, Nutrient Film
technology, etc. 6. Nutrient Film Technique (NFT) systems have a constant
flow of nutrient solution hence submersible pump is not required to be
programmed for a timer. The nutrient solution is pumped into the growing tray
and flows over the roots of the plants, and then drains back into the tank
holding solution 6.

 

Various
proposed models have incorporated advanced technology into these systems to
make the systems more efficient. For e.g. the work by Saaid et.al. 7 Uses
deep water culture and focuses on the ability of the system to adjust the pH
value of the water solution. Rongsheng Chen et.al. 8 tells about the effects of light quality on
growth and quality of lettuce in hydroponics and described how more red light
is benefit for the growth and quality of lettuce in hydroponic systems. Pravin et.al. 9 uses an embedded system that facilitates the growth of multiple crops
under a single controller.

An attempt has been made to
develop a system which can satisfactorily nurture the plant and also
effectively monitor the surroundings effectively. This will reduce the wastage
of water as well as nutrients. This project uses coco peat to grow plants. The
plants will be continuously monitored through various sensors (soil moisture,
pH level, light intensity, water temperature, humidity and temperature) and
they are catered according to their needs. The system incorporates a layout
which will collect the extra water and reuses it, hence will conserve water.