TRACK: AQUAPONICS AND ORGANIC FARMING
Aquaponics refers to any system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks) with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment. In a normal aquaculture, excretions from the animals can accumulate in the water and increase toxicity. In an aquaponic system, water from an aquaculture system is fed to a hydroponic system where the by-products are broken down by nitrifying bacteria initially into nitrites and subsequently into nitrates which are utilized by the plants as nutrients. The water is then re-circulated back to the aquaculture system.
Aquaponics addresses three key concerns for food security for India in coming years. They are:
- High quality organic produce.
- Almost 90% saving of water for crops (compared to same amount of crops grown in conventional agriculture)
- Almost 6 times higher yield per unit of land. At present there are four full-time apprentices who are being trained in the methodologies of this new farming technique. Each of them comes from a different background with various degrees of the knowledge on conventional agriculture