Five UGM students have developed Integrated Smart Vertical Hydroponic Farming to help improve the productivity of hydroponic vegetable cultivation for the Tuwuh Makmur Women Farmers Group in Santren Hamlet, Sleman Regency.
The development of the integrated vertical hydroponic farming system started with the concern of Patrick Rino Parulian Hutahaean (Engineering), Anugrah Hasmy Abdillah (Engineering), Abdurrahman Raeva Rizaldi (Engineering), Thomas Panogari Manik (Engineering), and Dian Rahmanisa (Agriculture) who are part of the Student Creativity Program team, about the problems faced by the farmers group.
Tuwuh Makmur experienced crop failure because the hydroponic system was in an open area, exposed directly to sunlight and rain. This resulted in plant damage due to tip burn, exposure to pests, and poor water circulation quality during rain.
“These three problems led to high crop failure in lettuce production. This prompted us to develop Integrated Smart Vertical Hydroponic Farming,” explained Patrick Hutahaean.
He conveyed that Tuwuh Makmur has been cultivating vegetables using hydroponics since 2020. With the implementation of Integrated Smart Vertical Hydroponic Farming, it is expected to optimize land use, thus increasing productivity.
The integrated tool, with the addition of light waves for photosynthesis process optimization, also creates a controlled environment for plants.
“This can minimize the risk of crop failure,” Hutahaean explained.
The addition of Real-Time Clock (RTC) technology will facilitate the Tuwuh Makmur in plant maintenance because the pump and grow light will automatically turn on and off.
“Previously, the change in people’s scheduling for plant care was uncertain, so sometimes the pump was not turned on, and the plants were not well maintained,” said Tri Sumiyati, Tuwuh Makmur chair.
The tool developed by UGM students has been used in the production land of Tuwuh Makmur, located in Pelem Kecut, Santren Hamlet, since mid-August 2023. The UGM team has also made adjustments and tool improvements and provided education and training on the tool.
Dian Rahmanisa added that with the Integrated Smart Vertical Hydroponic Farming, the productivity of the tool, which was previously only 30 plants per square meter, increased to 192 plants per square meter.
“This improvement is followed by an increase in profit, which is more than 150% higher than the previous tool,” she revealed.
She hopes the Integrated Smart Vertical Hydroponic method can increase Tuwuh Makmur’s market share. The application of this model is also expected to be an innovation and effort in transitioning agriculture from conventional to modern.
Photo: The Integrated Smart Vertical Hydroponic Team