Aquaponics- integrating aquaculture with crop production “There’s an aquaponic solution to every food problem” Andrew Chambi Founding Director of Aqua Roots Presentation Overview • Issues in food production • Agriculture industry, Aquaculture, Increasing food production • Aquaponics • How it works, Economics of aquaponics, Case for aquaponics, Existing models of aquaponics • Types of aquaponic systems • Deep Water, NFT etc, System components, Models, Versitility • • Some Examples Aqua Roots’ background Global agriculture industry • Decreasing resource availability: • Arable land available per capita decreased by 40% between 1960 and 2000; • Water demand increases by 64 billion cubic meters/year; • agriculture accounts for 71% water withdrawals; • By 2030, 47% of global population will be living under severe water stress Global fisheries & aquaculture • Fish very important source of animal protein – especially in low-income food-deficit countries (LIFDCs). • Fish consumption has many health benefits: • Low fat, high protein content • Essential Omega 3 fatty acids • Vitamins D and B2 Global fisheries & aquaculture • Challenges to aquaculture industry • Environmental degradation through water discharge and escapes • Water supply and energy requirement • Biosecurity • Fishmeal based aquaculture feeds Fish/rice culture • Over 2,500 year old technique from India and Asia • Rice provides a habitat for fish • Rice helps purify the water • Fish eat insects and circulate water • Fish provide nutrients for rice • Crop diversity – cereal grain and fish, crustaceans and water fowl. Aquaculture/irrigation • • • • • • At least 2000 year old technique Relevant in places with stored irrigation water for terrestrial crops One way flow of water Water is used twice – once for fish, and once for plants Fish wastes fertilise the water – enhancing growth of downstream crops Presence of fish reduces pest and parasite organisms - mosquitos How aquaponics works • Aquaculture waste becomes hydroponic nutrient • Hydroponic component removes nutrients and filters water • Clean water returns to fish rearing tanks 3 2 1 Aquaponics • Recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) • • • • Water efficient Supports high stocking densities Requires high level of water filtration and treatment Creates nutrient rich effluent stream • Hydroponic plant production • • • • • Water and space efficient Does not require “agricultural land” Allows complete control over plants – no weeds! Nutrients supplied to plants in solution Can create dangerous, high mineral content waste stream Economics of aquaponics • Plant growth the major component. • Uses 10% of the water of soil agriculture per unit crop yield. • Low maintenance and management time requirement. • Domestic systems can contribute greatly to food security and household economies • West bank study revealed AP system could produce food with a value 30 - 50% of the average daily salary in WB/Gaza respectively. • Increases the variety and quality of food available • Commercial systems enable significant revenue generation from “by-products” – Daily 1kg fish food 700g fish mass 8 lettuces harvested Case for aquaponics • Space efficient • allows high stocking and planting densities. • Water efficient • closed loop recirculating system. • Clean • zero discharge; all waste processed and used on-site. • Crop diversity • Plant and fish production. • Biological system • no chemicals allowed. • Versatile • can be implemented on micro to massive scale. • can make use of “non agricultural” land. System components • • • • • Fish tank(s) Plumbing Water pump Air pump filter Flood and drain • Optimal growbed depth – 30cm • 3 zones: wet zone, tidal zone and dry zone DWC / floating raft • Plants grown on floating sheets (styrofoam) • Roots in aerated water • Water depth 20-60cm • Constant depth – continual flow • Roots can “suffocate” if water is not well filtered prior to DWC growbed • Best suited to production of small, leafy crops • Favoured commercial technique Strawberry towers • Not just for strawberries! • Plants grown in vertical pipes • Volcanic rock, clay beads, foam strips • Water trickles from top to bottom • Continual flow • Towers may clog if water is not well filtered Wicking beds • Hydroponic soil growing? • • • • 15cm “wicking” reservoir at base 20-30cm soil on top Water moves up into soil by capillary action Continual flow OR no flow • Suitable for a wide variety of crops – including root crops System examples - mini System examples - mini System examples - large System examples - large 42 days later… Aqua Roots Background History & Future • Setup by a team with a diverse background • Six years successfully implementing domestic “backyard” and commercial systems in the UK, the Middle East and Africa. • Teaching and lecturing mainstream science and community aquaponics. • Aim to implement community based, high production systems in the UK.