It will be adequate to begin straightaway by giving out in simple clear language what this concept involves. This is a marriage of convenience between aquaculture and hydroponics. Pollution has been a problem that environmentalists have been having a running battle to contain; aquaponics is clean and green, a way to solve the problem of environmental pollution. This is a clean method of growing fish and plants together in a clean environment. It is stress-free and easy to practice.
The fish are reared in tanks and their water is used to irrigate the plants that are growing on soilless conditions. Where there is the availability of water which is the bridge in-between, this system will work. Let us hear from one of the experts in the field; on his definition of aquaponics:
Aquaponics is defined as the combination of aquaculture (growing fish in water) and hydroponics (growing plants in water). “It’s a simple idea, borrowed from nature, but with extraordinary results for modern gardeners- Charles (Charlie) Bacon from ecolicious aquaponics.
There Is Flexibility
The water is continuously recycled between fish and plants because no soil is involved. No fertilizers are needed; no room for pesticides and herbicides. This is one of the great ways to provide healthy food for a population that needs clean food. It is equally important to note that there is great flexibility in the design. You can produce fish and plant almost anywhere you can think of.
The Importance of Aquaponics
We have defined in clear terms the meaning of this concept. Let us take it further by determining why it is very important to the realities of today. In one of the annual conference of BAQUA that was hosted in the aquaponic conference at Bicton Earth; the issues bothering on the importance of aquaponics was extensively discussed. Speaker after speaker gave reasons why it is very important that governments all over the world should look in the direction of this model of farming. In that particular conference, the first speaker-Kevin Frediani, (the head of sustainable land use at Bicton College) said in his closing remarks: "How do we feed future populations?" That was the question in his closing remarks after he has dwelt extensively on the challenges we face with the environment. Speaker after speaker spoke in the same manner.
It is very clear that the world needs to embrace this model of farming if we are to overcome the food crisis that will be let loose on the world if adequate measures are not taken now to stem the tide of the shortage of food for all.
It Is A workable Concept
It can be seen clearly from the definition through its importance, that this model of farming method is the best that we can think of for now if we are to solve the problem of provision of food, and the attendant issues relating to the adverse effects of farming on the soil. There is no disadvantage to anybody, enterprise or corporation all over the world. The problem of crop farming over the years has been lack of a fertile soil for some countries in the world. The soil is out of the case in this model.
Water Should Not Constitute An Issue
Remember we mentioned that the water is recycled between the fish and the crop. The water gives the needed base for your fish as well as the crops. There is no loss of water in the soil. It is very cheap; a lazy way of getting clean food on the table without stress. The technology in the design has done virtually all that you are required to do. Just create the space (It can be anywhere you have in your imagination so far you can easily access the location), you will achieve your set goals and targets.
There are lots of junk food in the world today. Most of the harvests fall short of the standard requirements for a healthy food. Stories abound to that effect. Tests carried out by the experts have shows that the world is at a risk of consuming unsafe food. The US was the only country that was reported to enjoy some semblance of safe fresh food. Now, let us look at this stats: The Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) 2005 Food Code states that food borne diseases cause an estimated 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5000 deaths in the United States each year, and the annual cost reaches between $10 and $83 billion, in terms of pain and suffering, reduced productivity, and estimated medical costs. Source
Can you realize the harm done to the population in terms of health challenges? What about the huge expenditure incurred? Those are food for thought. The earlier we embrace aquaponics, the better for the health of all. With the ever-increasing population of the world despite all the birth control measures put in place, the earlier we take the issue of this model of farming seriously, the better for the citizens of the world.
The aquaculture industry has been around for well over a hundred years, the hydroponics industry is not more than 6 decades. Research into this model that we have been discussing all along began about 30 years ago. That has been one of the challenges that this model is currently facing. People still abandon it at the research table because it is a new concept; it is an attitude of wait and see. Click here for more info:
A better understanding of the challenges that this concept is facing was better explained by an expert who is practically involved in the field. She and her husband have been following the emergence of this novel farming method right from its inception. She blames the slow pace of things in the industry on one part on the policies of the government and on the other hand on the attitude of financial institutions who do not want to put their money in a venture that they considered risky. These are the exact words of- Rebecca Nelson of Nelson + Pade: On regulation; “As I am sure you have experience in your ventures, doing business in the US is highly regulated. Regulations are hurdles for new ventures and new technologies.”
On funding; “Since aquaponics is a new technology, banks are not eager to fund projects. This is beginning to change. This past year both the USDA and FSA have specifically mentioned aquaponics as a sustainable method of food production that they will provide funding for. This recognition and new funding source are trickling down to banks and investors, all of which help to increase the number of new aquaponic farms starting each year.”
She cannot be faulted on her two submissions above. The earlier we take a definite stand on this issue, the better for the ever-increasing population of the world. The limitations should be removed if indeed we are serious about achieving the dual concept of safe food and food for all at an affordable price.
A survey was conducted about five years ago in the industry. The respondents were farmers who have gone into the industry on a commercial scale of operation. Some of them recorded near zero harvests of fish in the last 12 months prior to their introduction into this system and their fortunes have been changed for the better. The table below shows the stats in details:
I see this concept as a way to help solve the food crises on our hands. The environment is thick with pollution; this will not help the cause of creating a clean eco-system that will guarantee safety for all. This model of farming can be effectively handled by those living with one disability or the other; it is stress-free. This is a bright opportunity for those living with one challenge or the other to contribute their quota towards solving the problem of scarcity of food.
This is the time for governments of the world to rise up and take a united action on this model of the food supply that guarantees enough supply and safety. This sector urgently needs funding from the governments of countries in the world. The financial sector should also support this venture.
More importantly, there should be an enlightenment campaign on the usefulness of this model of farming with the aim of getting more private individuals involved in the concept.
Aquaponics is indeed the future of farming if we do not want to have a crisis between the supply and demand chain.