AQUAPONICSFor information on any of our aquaponics experience or projects, please contact April Perry, chairman Board of Directors, Luke’s Mission at firstname.lastname@example.org
Luke’s Mission has extensive experience using aquaponics, both in the US and in Haiti. Aquaponics is the synergistic combination of fish farming (aquaculture) and soil-less cultivation of plants-usually in water (hydroponics) . Aquaponics has the potential in Haiti to provide a rich protein source-fish- and vegetables for consumption and marketing in an environment where the soil is poor.
Fish waste in the water is circulated through the plant beds where the waste products are used as fertilizer for the plants and the plants filter the water which is returned clean to the fish
Luke’s Mission has designed and installed systems which can work both with electricity or without electricity.
Standard boat bilge pumps can be used without any problems in areas where therer is no access to electricity. It is easy and inexpensive. Everything needed to build a system can be procured in Haiti.
Aquaponics is a simple and innovative technology that is designed to produce high yields of fish and vegetables in small areas.
Our vision for the country of Haiti is to assist local peasant farmers, communtiy leaders and NGO’s in setting up aquaponics systems and then expanding them into communities. Scientific data has shown that aquaponics has the potential to provide communities in Haiti with fresh vegetables and protein rich fish, as well as increasing the yield of the crops as much as 10-45 fold without using much water. Our own system has yielded between 5-15 times the poundage recorded for traditional soil farming is a fraction of the space.
We have chosen a fish known as tilapia for our tanks. These hardy and disease-resistant fish are natives of Africa and the Middle East.
Tilapia are ideal because :
- they tolerate low oxygen and poor water conditions that kill most fish they can survive by ingesting algae
- they grow rapidly, reaching an adult weight of 0.75 -1 lb. in about 6 -9 months, providing an inexpensive source of protein
- they are also among the world’s most popular fish for eating because they are very palatable, a large degree of white flesh (40% of their weight) and very few bones
Tilapia fishponds have already proven to be marketable in many areas of Haiti
Prior to implementing the project in Haiti, we built a prototype here in North Carolina at our farm. For the prototype, a greenhouse was required to house the aquaponics system inorder to replicate the climate in Haiti. However, in Haiti, a greenhouse is not necessary because the year round atmospheric temperature will be conducive to good health for the fish and plants.
The vegetables that we grew in the prototype greenhouse were those that 1) will flourish in Haiti, 2) are acceptable locally and culturally, and 3) provide a sound basis for nutrition. Based on discussions with local Haitian leaders, we initially grew spinach, lettuce, squash, tomatoes and herbs.
We brought 2 missionaries who were working with the Haitian leaders to the Durham, NC area to see our system. During that visit we jointly tried to anticipate and solve any problems which might occur. They also learned about the daily operation of the aquaponic system and began to plan the introduction of the systems in Haiti.
OUR SYSTEMS IN HAITI
We sent teams to established two systems in Haiti in the last 4 years–one in a rural mountain village and on on a property owned and operated by an American missionary. Materials that were needed to build the aquaponics system were relatively simple – concrete blocks, cement, tarps, PVC pipe, connectors, faucets, and pumps were available in Haiti.
One system was designed to not require electricity. The other system had access to bgenerator supplied electricity. All items were available in Haiti except the pumps. The American consulting team provided the pumps for the initial system, using a simple hand bilge pump that cost less that $40. (Pumps are needed to move the water through the system.)
Both systems were maintained by the local Haitian project managers. They both produced vegetables and fish in the way we anticipated they would. Both were very successful and grew plants and fish well – one with electric power the other hand powered. However, due to problems with oversight locally and changing priorities of our partner organizations, neither project is currently operational.
Working together with the local farmers, we desired that they would work towards being self-sufficient in maintaining the fish ponds/aquaculture project at some point in the future using revenues from the sales of the vegetables and fish. Vegetables and fish will be produced for marketing in local markets as well as consumption.
Our team of experts is available for consultation to help any interested persons or organizations set up systems and to assist in problem solving.
“Project goes with the flow…to Haiti”-article featuring our work in aquaponics in Haiti. Click on the link below for the article.
See how commercial aquaponics can feed thousands. this is how it could work in the third world.
Read much more about how Luke’s Mission has used this this novel agriculture concept in Haiti at the link below