Aquaponics Yet to Attract Much Attention in Kozhikode
KOZHIKODE: At a time when organic farm products and associated cultivation methodologies are gaining rapid momentum in the public sphere, the Farm Information Bureau (FIB) here has introduced Aquaponics for organic farming enthusiasts.
Aquaponics is described as a combination of ‘aquaculture’ and ‘hydroponics’ in which plants are grown in manured water. The most essential element for plant growth - nitrogen - is efficiently gathered and streamed to the roots in this method.
According to the officials at FIB here, the method has not gained much popularity among the farmers as it is relatively a new technique. “It is a modern and soilless organic farming technique in which farm products are cultivated along with aquaculture,” said M Shaji, Deputy Director (Aqua) at Marine Products Exports Development Authority (MPEDA).
Recently, FIB and MPEDA had jointly conducted a training class for the farmers of the district in a bid to encourage the technique. “Earlier, hydroponics was widely adopted by farmers. But, later, it did not gain much popularity as it was completely based on chemical manuring. This is where aquaponics assumes relevance as Nitrogen is effectively fed to plant roots through water,” said Rajesh, assistant agricultural officer at FIB. Chemical fertilizers cannot be used in this method as it would kill all fishes in the tank.
Water in the fish tank which contains ammonia-rich fish excreta is pumped to another tank over which plants are grown. After the plants absorb Nitrogen from the water, it is again pumped back into the fish tank. Officials added that the technique conserves 90 per cent of water in the system as it is a chain process.
“Fishes cannot thrive in a water system which has excess ammonia content. The water which is pumped back into the fish tank will make replenish aquatic ecosystem,” added Rajesh. However, round-the-clock electricity supply is unavoidable for the proper functioning of the technique to ensure constant supply of ammonia to plants and replenished water back to fish tanks. Rajesh added that the Agricultural Department would soon take up aquaponics as a scheme for the benefit of farmers in the state.