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Floating Farm Makes Cities Sustainable: A Way Forward


India is the second largest producer of agricultural products in the world and is the primary source of livelihood for about 58 percent of India’s population. According to Inc42, the Indian agricultural sector is projected to reach $ 24 billion by 2025. The Indian food and grocery market is the world’s sixth largest, with retail contributing 70 percent of the sales. According to First Advance Estimates for 2022-23, total food grain production in the country is estimated at 149.92 million tons. The increasing population of India is the main factor driving the agriculture industry. The increases in the income levels in rural and urban areas, which have contributed to the rise in the demand for agricultural products across the nation, provide additional support for this. As per the reports, the market is being stimulated by the growing adoption of cutting-edge techniques, including blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), geographic information systems (GIS), drones, and remote sensing technologies, as well as the release of various e-farming applications.

By using the latest technologies, farmers are trying to contribute to the sustainability of nature to maintain climatic conditions. Sustainable agricultural practices are economically viable, environmentally friendly, and socially supportive (beneficial to farmers, their families, and communities). Such practices include crop rotation and the integration of mutually beneficial crops with farm animals. Floating agriculture is a method of producing food using land that has been submerged for a long period of time. This technology is primarily intended to adapt to more regular or prolonged flooding.

Floating farm Rotterdam, which is based on the Merwe harbor, is considered the world's first floating farm and one of many examples of green innovation in the Netherlands. Floating solar collectors provide the needed energy, and rainwater is collected on the roof before cleaning. Most of the cattle feed comes from cities. Their delicious menu includes beer grains, bran, and potato crumbs. Rotterdam sports field or golf course lawn looks good; therefore, the exterior of the farm was designed to be largely transparent. All visitors can see what is happening on the floating farm. Children and adults visit the floating farm to have fun.

What is a Floating Farm?
Floating agriculture is a method of producing food using land that has been submerged for a long period. This technology is primarily intended to accommodate more frequent or longer floods. This approach uses rotting vegetation beds to act as compost for plant growth. These beds can float on water, creating arable land in waterlogged areas. Scientifically, floating farming can be called hydroponics. In Bangladesh, it has local names such as Bhaira, Get, Dap and Bed. Floating agriculture can be beneficial in areas where agricultural land is submerged for long periods of time. This approach is fairly popular in Bangladesh, where farmlands are subject to prolonged flooding during the monsoon season. This practice is similar to hydroponics, allowing plants to be grown in a floating bed of water hyacinth, algae, or other plant debris.

A typical example of aquatic agriculture in Bangladesh is a layer of water hyacinth, straw, or rice stubble, to which is added a small, quickly decomposing channel that provides good quality fertilizer. The structure of the floating raft is reinforced with bamboo and secured using bamboo poles to prevent damage from wave action and drift. This floating raft can be moved to submerged areas for agricultural purposes.

Floating agriculture practices have minimal infrastructure and very little capital requirement. Costs can also be kept low because raw materials for the construction of floating beds are readily available from local waterways.

Advantages of Technologies in Floating Farm
This practice helps reduce land loss from flooding by allowing for continued management of these areas. This way, the total area can be increased, and the community becomes more self-sufficient. Additionally, floating farmland is up to 10 times more productive than conventional farmland and requires no additional chemical fertilizers or fertilizers. Once the crop is harvested and the raft is no longer needed, it can be used as organic fertilizer in the fields or incorporated into floating beds.

This approach makes great use of water hyacinth, a highly invasive weed with a productive growth rate. Harvesting water hyacinth has the positive effect of clearing out weedy areas, reducing mosquito breeding grounds, and improving open-water fishing conditions. By growing crops in water, one can also harvest bed-dwelling fish populations at the same time.

Due to the lack of awareness of floating agriculture and its methods, there is a need to raise awareness and educate local communities. Organizations should provide training and technical support to the community

Floating farming practices also help supplement the incomes of local communities and alleviate poverty. It also improves food security by increasing land production and empowering the poor and landless. People who practice floating bed cultivation enjoy a better life economically than those in other flood-affected areas who are yet to adopt the practice. However, it is unclear how it will be affected by SLR and salinity increases that may occur in climate change scenarios. Although this technique can be applied to some megadeltas, such as the Ganges-Brahmaputra, a more general application of this approach is unlikely to be successful, so caution should be exercised when applying this approach more broadly.

Technology can also provoke conflicts within communities where shared ownership areas are devoted to practicing. Such an approach could allow politically more powerful individuals to attempt to acquire these territories for their own purposes. The area remains damp most of the time, making transporting produce to market difficult.

Ways to Educate People about Floating Farm
Due to the lack of awareness of floating agriculture and its methods, there is a need to raise awareness and educate local communities. Organizations should provide training and technical support to the community. Community-level implementation of floating farming systems should be possible if communities have the right knowledge. This is because raw materials are widely available, costs are low, and this is supplemented by food production and marketing. Communities must work together to implement these programs at the local level. This has been observed to enhance peace in communities and communities.

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