2017 Volume 12 Issue 1 Pages 45-51
Coconut coir is an effective growth medium that has been used in hydroponic cultivation of lettuce in Thailand; this material is inexpensive and readily available in tropical regions. Here, we evaluated the financial feasibility of an energy-saving hydroponic system using coconut coir as the growth medium in northeastern Thailand. We first compared coconut coir hydroponic cultivation with the conventional open field cultivation to assess the productivity and marketability of cucumbers in the rainy and dry seasons: in the hydroponic system, profit in the rainy season 57% higher and in the dry season, 95% higher. Next, we assessed a simulation of a new cropping pattern based on the hydroponic system. The assessment included a new 4-year investment in a conventional crop of rice and cucumber in the rainy season and tomato in the dry season, versus an investment in the coconut coir-based hydroponic system for a 0.32 ha (2 rai) field. Incremental cost-benefit values, comparing existing management practices with the new 4-year term, were calculated at a discount rate of 0.0975, which was the lowest concessional loan rate by the Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives. The cost-benefit ratio was 1.14. These findings show that investment in hydroponic cultivation in northeastern Thailand would be cost effective.