Aquaponics Could Be The Future

In 2050, it is estimated there will be 9.7 billion people on earth . To feed all these people will require about 70% more food for humans than is currently consumed1. In the past 100 years, humans have been relying on a combination of scientific, technological, government policy and business investments to increase far outputs . Unfortunately, this has come with detrimental effects on the environment.

The limited and decreasing amounts of natural resources, soil, and water has been the greatest challenge. Additionally there has been decrease in biodiversity creating greater susceptibility to supply shock2. Events like extreme weather are increasing, as a consequence food production is affected. Because of these expected challenges the global aquaponic market is expected to grow as a sustainable alternative.

Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals supplies nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water. 

In addition to fixing food production concerns, the forecast sees aquaponic as addressing growing markets segments. For example, the rising wealth in Asian middle class that consume fish as major proportion of their protein1. As oceans are experiencing depletion of greater fish varieties, substituted options will need to be made available that are convenient and healthy. It is predicted that more than half of the world’s seafood supply in the next decade will come from farmed fished2 and aquaponics will help this sector grow.

There are also large movements towards increasing social awareness for improved human health and well being particularly in food safety. Thus, aquaponic systems are generating increasing interest as a potential future technology for safe, local food production through their vertically integrated value chains1. This increase in demand of vender accuracy will likely be advanced with the rise of data analytics of smarter food chains2. Due to aquaponics increase digital connectedness to make sure systems run smoothly, these farms will have the ability to and use of e-commerce solutions to drive consumer sales. Consumers are likely to continue to demand more transparency about the environment and their food3 and aquaponics can deliver this information effortlessly to increase system value. 


[1] Dalsgaard, J., et al. (2013). Farming different species in RAS in Nordic countries: Current status and future perspectives. Aquacultural Engineering, 53, 2-13. doi:10.1016/j.aquaeng.2012.11.008

[2] Halwail, B. (2008). Farming Fish for the Future (Issue brief No. 176). Washington, DC: World Watch Institute.

[3] Keating, B. A. & Carberry, P. S. (2010). Sustainable production, food security and supply chain implications. Asp. Appl. Biol. 102, 7–20.

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