Country Can Overcome Food Shortage, Water Crisis Through ‘Aquaponics’

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(Photo Credit: The Nation)

Article courtesy of The Nation | July 9, 2015 | The Nation | Shared as educational material

LAHORE – President Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry Shah Faisal Afridi has suggested that by following Chinese rooftop farming technology of “Aquaponics”, Pakistan can overcome food shortage, water crises, excessive use of pesticides and expensive fertilizers.

He elaborated that “Aquaponics” is a technique that harvest both fish and vegetables, while using the waste from the fish to feed the plants and the plants to clean the water for the fish.
By combining the fish, water and plants, Aquaponic Systems use an integrated environment to produce vegetables and fish in very small space, with very little water, he added.

Afridi, while addressing a group of PCJCCI members, explicated that the Chinese model of latest soil-free and rooftop farming technology of “Aquaponics” present Pakistan with an opportunity not only to return a level of personal or household food production to cities, but also create a viable commercial urban farming sector.

He told that Aquaponics was explored by China for several decades as a possible solution to the foregoing environmental, energy and food shortage problems.
The technique is capable of producing 5000 kg of vegetables and 500 kg of fish per year by utilizing limited space.
Rooftops across the world are being used to produce vegetables, fish, chicken and other farm products successfully through the aquaponics technique
Aquaponics also known as Recirculation farms are a socially responsible farming method and business too; they support the use of renewable energy, recycle water and waste, and provide local food.
Aquaponic systems are much more productive and use up to 90 percent less water than conventional gardens.
Other advantages include no weeds, fewer pests, and no watering, fertilizing, bending, digging or heavy lifting etc, Afridi mentioned.

Faisal Afridi stated that rapid rise in seafood demand in developed countries gives Pakistan an opportunity to expand and improve fish farming techniques and aquaculture practices in order to earn more foreign exchange.
He informed that modernizing fish farming techniques would be very beneficial for Pakistan because net trade income of developing countries from fish has reached around US$24 billion that is more than the net trade income from other agricultural commodities like coffee, rubber, corn, soya bean etc.

He said that this is the right time for Pakistan to explore its huge marine seafood resources and become a major producer of seafood, not only for local consumption but for the global market as well.
He informed that currently, nearly 400,000 people are directly engaged in fishing in Pakistan and another 600,000 in the ancillary industries.

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