The global aquaponic and hydroponic systems and equipment market size is expected to grow from USD 1,202.8 million in 2020 to USD 2,753.2 million by 2027, at a CAGR of 14.8% from 2021 to 2027. High emphasis has been laid on the adverse effects of conventional agriculture on the environment. Some of these concerns include depletion of natural resources, misuse of synthetic chemical inputs into the soil, and contamination of water resources. With the excessive agricultural activities over the land, land fertility globally has declined. This has led to a great rise in alternative production systems for small growers and large-scale commercial productions.
Aquaponic is another system of growing plants without soil but is different from the hydroponic growing system. Instead of plants getting their nutrients from the soil, an aquatic solution is used to directly provide the essential nutrients needed for plant growth to the roots, where efficient nutrient uptake can occur. In place of adding fertilizers to the water to add nutrients, fish are grown simultaneously in the aquatic environment to create a symbiotic relationship that results in an incredibly efficient system. Aquaponic and hydroponic systems’ major benefits include a longer growing season than conventional gardening, lessened negative environmental impact, faster plant growth, and higher yield.
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Various aquaponic and hydroponic systems are available in the market, such as nutrient-film technique, deep water culture systems, media-filled grow bed, and Ebb and flow systems. The equipment used in aquaponic and hydroponic-based growing includes LED grow light, HVAC, irrigation system, and aeration system. A wide range of products can be developed with aquaponic and hydroponic systems such as vegetables, herbs, fruits, and fish. With the current global scenario, alternative farming systems are expected to grow exponentially in the coming years with increased demand for food and decreased availability of land.
COVID-19 Impact on the Global Aquaponic and Hydroponic Systems and Equipment
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted almost all major industries worldwide, including the agricultural sector. The pandemic has led to economic instability throughout the world, and the GDP for all countries declined in 2020. The alternative farming industry, vertical farming, aquaponics, hydroponic, and monoculture techniques, has also been vastly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The agriculture sector plays a major role in many countries such as India, the U.S., Australia, and Indonesia. Countries with a well-established aquaponic and hydroponic setup have faced a major issue with the COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, supply chains of major equipment required to work an aquaponic and hydroponic growing setup got severely disturbed. These include an HVAC system, LED grow light, and aeration system. The unavailability of the equipment required for the working of an aquaponic farm has decreased the production and yield severely. This has affected the demand and supply ratio with the products developed through aquaponic and hydroponic techniques.
Global Aquaponic and Hydroponic Systems and Equipment Market Dynamics
Drivers: Increasing Global Food Demand
Global food safety and security is one of the most significant environmental issues. The global population has increased immensely since the 2000s and will further increase by 2030 and 2050. Such a large world population will be demanding more food and water in the future. In the last two decades, agricultural production has been higher than the rate of growth of the global population, which is 1% per year of the current value. Therefore, concerns have been raised whether the landmass of the world will be able to support its expanding population by 2030 and 2050 or not.
Increased food production will require greater inputs-land, water, manpower, or a combination of these inputs. Thus, an increase in food production will intensify competition for land, water, and energy. With the increased concerns over food security, growers worldwide have opted for various techniques for food production, such as aquaponics and hydroponic.
Challenges: High Cost of Operation
The primary reason for the slow and limited adoption of aquaponic and hydroponic systems globally is the high cost of operation and initial investment. Increased investment is required to set up a commercial aquaponics farm, which can be troublesome, especially for small and medium-scale growers. Thus, the cost of implementing the technology, expert cost, and maintenance cost somehow affect the market’s growth. The high initial price for setting up an aquaponic and hydroponic system is considered a major challenge in developing aquaponic systems globally. Countries with less technological awareness and less knowledge might not invest a high amount in these systems.
Opportunities: Increasing Cultivation of Medicinal Plants
Medicinal plants are valuable natural resources. Unplanned growth and overexploitation of medicinal plants from non-managed, natural resources have resulted in the lack of different spices and the elimination of various species in the world. To fulfill the developing need for these plants, it becomes critical to moderate these plant species either by way of domestication and cultivation or by other ex-situ and in situ conservation measures for their maintainable use.
Medicinal plants are increasingly cultivated on a commercial scale to meet their growing demand for natural remedies. These plants are usually preferred to be developed away from their native climatic zones due to emergencies.