Aquaponics in the Pacific

The New Zealand Government have got behind a $250,000 aid project and have built a trial aquaponics system on the Cook island of Rarotonga , located in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean.

Many of the Islanders have limited access to fresh water and lacked suitable soil for producing food.  Given that a lot of fresh vegetables are flown in from New Zealand making them very expensive, it seemed aquaponics was the better way to go.

The project is housed in a 200 square metre shed at the Titikaveka Growers Association premises, where tilapia fish will be fed high-protein nutrients.

The trial system has been a big hit with the locals who were surprised to see how quickly the vegetables grew on fish waste.

If successful the scheme may be rolled out throughout other pacific islands.

The New Zealand trade Commissioner Adam Dennniss is a big fan of the system.
“Show me a growing solution that improves yield without clearing more land, gives me a protein and vegetable crop, uses 90% less water is environmentally sustainable and economically viable whilst reducing the need for expensive fertilisers and I’m happy to look at it. Until then, I believe this may be a solution.” Adam Denniss, PT&I Trade Commissioner said.

Speaking to ABC Radio, Adam Denniss said “We built three different systems. They differ in size and scale. We have a two bed system. A four bed system and a twelve bed system.”

The 12 bed system is producing close to 350 to 450 head of lettuce per week.” he said.

The average wholesale price for lettuce in the Pacific is $3 per head so scaling up to a larger commercial aquaponics system is a feasible proposition given that the local labor costs were low.

You can read more here: Aquaponics holds big jobs potential for Pacific nations