Growing plants without soil Hydroponics is a modern cultivation method that grows plants using mineral nutrient solution in water without requiring any soil at all. Plants can simply grow with their roots in the solution or in an inert medium. This revolutionary new technology offers remarkable advantages over conventional farming: Water is scarce in the region and high quality agricultural soil is very rare. Hydroponics employs a closed system for irrigation where wastewater is returned to the tank and reused. This has reduced the water usage by more than 40% at SAIC Soil is home to all kinds of microbes and fungi, and the sterilization procedure uses a toxic substance called methyl bromide to kill these organisms. Hydroponics largely eliminates the need for sterilization because it uses no soil It is easy to control nutrient levels in the water, hence lower nutrition costs with higher production The density of crop is higher than in soil and yields are consistently higher per total area Crops are of higher quality than conventionally grown plants. So much so that customers often prefer the hydroponically grown fruits and vegetables over conventional produce As of 2009, about 20% of the total area is already under hydroponic cultivation. Tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicum, eggplant and even strawberries are produced under hydroponic cultivation at SAIC