Rural Development Programme support was used for installing a water recycling system to further reduce costs of vegetable hydroponic production, and minimising waste water.
VITA-ZEL & Company Ltd. is the biggest producer of vegetables in Slovakia. The company grows vegetables on 80-100 hectares (ha), about 80 ha of which is used for growing field vegetables such as tubers, roots, onions etc. The company grows cucumbers and peppers hydroponically in 5.13 ha of polytunnels and needed to design a system for reducing irrigation costs. In addition, the company wanted to develop its capacity to produce its own seedlings.
The project activities involved the setting up of the water recycling system and placing new hydroponic flood tables into six irrigation sections to produce the new seedlings.
The implementation of the irrigation water recycling project and the modernisation of the irrigation system will result in a 33% savings in water consumption.
Also, by recycling water that contains nutrients necessary for plant nutrition, the company will save about 30% of the cost for fertilisers. In 2019, the company spent EUR 75 882 for fertilisers. With the new water recycling system, the company will be able to save EUR 22 765 per year.
The environmental benefit is that the excess water is recycled and then used to irrigate the plants. The water is kept in the production loop and it does not seep into the soil and subsequently into the groundwater.