Digital innovations are making great strides in every industry & sector, most importantly – agriculture – the lifeline of all countries. Urban farming, farm to table, food miles – are some of the new concepts put forth to get people’s attention. Change agents have come forward and taken up initiatives to introduce technology & digital devices in farming – to help the farmer keep a track of weather forecasts, plantation & harvesting patterns and to enhance the yield.
Initiatives have been taken up by Governments to integrate rural farmers with the wider market, enhance access to information, services and trade. Still, we’re left with no answers when these questions arise: Will output keep up with the demands of the growing population? Will farm produce offer the quality that is essential for healthy living? How can we better use our depleting resources efficiently?
What we are missing in the transition to new Technology-
Farming follows the centuries old route of growing what the weather allows in open fields. That technology is season dependent, not to mention the intervention of Mother Nature from time to time wreaking havoc on production. It means that not everything can grow in a field year-round. The hub of production of all crops changes every few months. This includes being grown in OTHER Countries where the adherence to the ethical and legal standards is not uniformly enforced. As a result, food has to travel an increasing distance before it reaches the consumer and the quality is of question. Education: For the Farmer, the Store Buyer AND the Customer, as to the benefits of Aquaponically grown food is the key to the transition.
Globally this is changing; in some Countries faster than others–
How the food is grown, how much time it takes to grow food, what time of the year can the food be grown, it’s all changing. Crops are becoming available throughout the year and slashing the food miles for every customer. With the integration of technology in farming, a shift in the way farming is done is being observed. A BIG shift is being brought about by Aquaponics. A method of production combining fish (aquaculture) with soil-less growing of plants (hydroponics) creating a mutually beneficial and self-sustaining ecosystem. Aquaponics works in a re-circulating water system which reduces the water use by over 90% compared to conventional soil-based agriculture. To add to that, it is an ABSOLUTELY chemical-free mode of farming. It has to be or you would kill the fish or the beneficial bacteria critical to the ecosystem. An added bonus of Aquaponic farming is it allows for the possibility of going vertical with minimal effort.
Getting Sustainable Production-
On the internet you see information and videos talking about how people are saving resources and growing high-quality products with aquaponics, globally. They talk about enhancing ‘food security’, reducing the ‘food miles’ and how one can get fresh produce, all year round. Over the last decade more and more growers have started using novel and innovative farming techniques – growing food inside a greenhouse, on the rooftop, in the basement and inside shipping containers. However, most of these growers practice soil-based organic farming and only a selected few have tried their hands-on commercial aquaponics. And for these selected few, there is no dearth of growing space options. This is a group of individuals who believe in ‘ditch the dirt’ concept – which is soilless growing of food without the use of any chemicals and their impact on the environment.
Aquaponics will be the means of feeding people in the near future.