What is Aquaponics?

Aquaponics is a system for farming fish and plants together in a mutually beneficial cycle. Fish produce wastes that turn into nitrates and ammonia. These aren’t good for the fish if they build up too much, but they’re great fertilizer for plants. As the plants suck up these valuable nutrients, they purify the water, which is good for the fish. Many cultures have made use of this cycle to grow better crops and nurture the fish as an additional food source.
Rice paddies in China and Thailand have used aquaponic techniques for years, however, in Africa, the concept is still relatively new.

The Benefits

Reduced water use – with water becoming a scarce resource in South Africa it makes sense to use methods that reduce water required to produce the same or more food. As the water from the fish tank is recirculated, the amount of water lost in the system is minimal (RAS). In conventional farming, the irrigation water is pumped out onto the land, only to be lost through evaporation, percolation or runoff.

Reduced chemical use – the use of chemicals will be detrimental to the fish, so is discouraged with aquaponics. The fish provide all the nutrients required for the plants, and because it is a controlled environment, pests are kept to a minimum.

Reduces erosion – many acres of precious topsoil being lost to water and wind erosion every year, and our waterways experiencing silt build-up.

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