Increasing population demands larger volumes of agricultural produce; this demand and supply relationship is threatened by climate change and water scarcity, increasing the food imports or food miles, i.e., the distance travelled by the produce from field to consumer, and food security & sovereignty concerns. Moreover, farmers turn towards methods which rely on the use of chemicals, pesticides, genetic tailoring, and artificial fertilizers translating into loss in food purity. The answer to all these problems lies in Aquaponics which is an agricultural method depending on a symbiotic relationship between fish and crops. The fish are kept in water tanks and produce waste which contains Ammonia. This water is circulated through crops which take out Ammonia and turn it into nutrition. The clean water is then sent back to fish and the whole cycle is repeated. This methodology uses 90% less water than conventional agriculture because water is recirculated. The food is pure because pesticides or medicines would kill fish or destroy the crops. It also addresses the issues of food miles, security and sovereignty because Aquaponics farms are scalable to any level, can be placed in urban settings, i.e., close to the market, and can be operated in harsh weather. In addition, unlike aquaculture or hydroponics, Aquaponics does not require dumping of waste water with toxic chemicals into the environment. All these advantages make Aquaponics an attractive subject, especially for Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, where there is a need to address these concerns, which arise from climatic and geographical conditions, changing lifestyle and increasing awareness among people about healthy living, economic challenges, and environment safety factors. This project proposes to setup a laboratory scale Aquaponics system which will, 1. help to emulate (to some extent) the systems response to weather conditions in Saudi Arabia, and study the functioning of overall system, 2. be used to study the suitability of various locally available and relatively cheap materials for Aquaponics system, and 3. give a proof of concept for a large-scale farm. The results thus obtained would contribute significantly towards global scientific research on the subject, which lacks experimental studies. Moreover, this study will serve as a proof of concept for such farms in the Kingdom.
|Effective start/end date
|1/04/20 → 1/04/23
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