Sushant Madaan, an organic farming enthusiast from Gurugram has set up the first-of-its-kind aquaponic farm in north India.
Aquaponics is a system of aquaculture, which allows farmers to raise fishes while also being able to grow plants. The waste produced by the farmed fish or other aquatic creatures supplies nutrients for the plants.
Image for representation only. Source: By Bryghtknyght (Own work), via Wikimedia Commons
“In aquaponics, we grow fish and plants together in a tank. The tank has fishes in it and on the sides of the tank there are beds for plants. The water from the fish tank which is rich in nutrients due to the fish waste goes into the plants,” Madaan told The Times of India.
Madaan decided to pursue aquaponics after exploring different organic farming techniques for a while. Having set up the farm in June this year, he is planning to grow leafy vegetables this season.
The beds in an aquaponic farm that support plants are made using different types of material like thermocol sheets or gravel. The approximate cost of setting up an aquaponics farm ranges between Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 15 lakh. While the cost of setting up such a farm is higher than conventional farming, Madaan says that the operational cost is much less because there is no need for fertilizers. An aquaponic farm also uses 90% less water than a conventional farm.
He claims that the yield from an aquaponic farm is two times higher. The only limitation of this farming technique is that one cannot grow underground fruits and vegetables.
The District horticulture officer Deen Mohammad Khan has been tracking this project since its inception. He said, “It is the first of its kind aquaponic project in Northern India and is a great technique especially with the ever increasing demand of organic fruits and vegetables in the urban areas.”