Aquaponic became a major interest of mine last year sometime when I did a training in it’s theory and practices with a man in the Bay Area of California. He’s a Kenyan guy named Eric, from Kijiji Grows. Eric took us through a few days of discussion and practicum in building Aquaponic systems. Aquaponics is basically a combined science of aquaculture or fish raising with hydroponics (non soil based plant growth) to produce food in a highly efficient and low waste, symbiotic system. It’s a system that is nothing new, utilized in ancient Mexican Aztec civilization, and I even heard about its use in various parts of Africa, though not called by the name Aquaponics of course.
Aquaponics is basically a 2 part system, an aquaculture tank for the raising of fish and a hydroponic (non soil based) garden for the growth of vegetables. Basically in this system, the fish tank water becomes full of toxic effluent, or fish waste and uneaten foodstuffs. Though toxic to the fish, this effluent is transformed into a food source appropriate for the growth of various vegetables.
I got on the Aquaponics wagon as I learned more about water scarcity on the planet as well as the fact that there are places where the soil just isn’t fit for the growth of healthy and rich vegetables. The instructor Eric had worked in a dry desert like area of Kenya showing local folks how to put together aquaponics systems with things found locally and helped the folks of that remote region take control of their food security issues.
On a recent trip to Senegal West Africa, I saw a locale that could greatly benefit from the implementation of Aquaponics urban gardens. In the city I was based in Dakar, I saw so little in the way of food growth and though one organization Jica, a Japanese non governmental was doing aquaculture projects in the South, I still saw room for some massive projects involving Aquaponics in this fish industry based nation.