It is estimated that by 2050, the world’s population will increase by 2 billion people. This means we will have to feed 9 billion mouths. We all need food to survive yet the gulf between farmers and what we put on our plates continues to widen each passing day. With the world’s population surpassing our resources, there a great need for us to act now to ensure we can sustain ourselves in the future. Farmers are continuously looking for ways where they can get to grow crops without using too much water or large pieces of land.
It is for this reason why farmers have started embracing the technology of aquaponics. With aquaponics, you only need 3% of water to grow ten times the amount of food in half the time and just a fraction of the space. This is, therefore, a step in the right direction where growing plants is concerned. You only need the initial cost since the aquaponic system requires very minimal upkeep costs.
What is aquaponics?
It is a combination of raising fish (aquaculture) and organic hydroponics, using no soil while growing plants. With aquaponics, you get to grow crops and raise fish at the same time in an integrated system. You use the waste from fish to feed your crops. As the water circulates through the system, plants absorb the ammonia and other waste from fish. Once the water is cleaned, it is then pumped back to the fish tank.
The nitrifying bacteria and composting worms help a lot in the whole process. The worms convert nitrogen from fish wastes into nitrites, then into nitrates that are great food for plants.
You can grow different types of fresh water fish like tilapia, trout, and cat fish. You also get to grow a wide variety of crops like vegetables and fruits. No additional fertilizers are needed for this kind of farming meaning you get to grow purely organic food from aquaponics.
Aquaponics is also a great alternative for developing countries for as a way to provide food for their citizens and also as a commercial venture. This system is also eco-friendly and sustainable. In developing countries, water is a precious commodity, and since in aquaponics water gets recycled, less of it is used than in any other traditional farming.
The system is self-supporting since fish grow their own food. There are numerous ways aquaponics can improve peoples’ lives in the developing countries. They include increased food security, economic growth, and employment opportunities.
Aquaponics can provide high quantities of food supplies around the world without negatively impacting the globe. The most beautiful thing with aquaponics is that it can easily be done at any scale; it can easily be setup in the basement, kitchen or the backyard. It also doesn’t require huge capital to start.
Benefits of aquaponics over the traditional soil based method
- You get to grow two types of food at the same time without the need of extra resources.
- No weeding is required in this system.
- No soil-borne insects for your plants.
- Fewer resources and water required to grow crops.
- You get to grow more crops within a shorter period.
- No digging equipment required plus it is easy to start.
With an aquaponic system, you get to farm all year round regardless of the weather conditions. For places like arctic and desert regions, and those regions that experience tough winters, this is the best farming method for them. With the aquaponic system that doesn’t rely on the climate, you will not have an excuse of not farming. These systems enable a whole year round food supply thus helping feed the world. Instead of investing in expensive fertilizers and pesticides, the government should invest in aquaponic systems. A big portion of produce gets destroyed by parasites leading to decreased productivity. However, with aquaponics, the conditions are uninhabitable for any parasites leading to higher yields. This is a great way to feed the globe especially with the increasing global warming that has led to harsh climatic conditions.
Aquaponics systems help more nutritious foods that are high in protein. The system also ensures production of more economically and environmentally sustainable food.
With increased food production from the aquaponic system, nations will be able to reduce the death rates, increase the farmers’ incomes and consequently to improve the overall nation’s economy.
These systems need to be supported by the government if they have to remain sustainable because the lack of support will render them unsustainable.
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