Aquaponics describes an efficient system of integration between aquaculture and hydroponics. The system pumps water from a large fish tank through pipes from which soilless crops are grown. The water is enriched with nutrients from the fish waste, is cleansed as it’s filtered through to feed the crops, and cycles back around to the fish tank. The closed system benefits both the fish and the crops, efficiently supporting both. But is using aquaponics for profit a feasible reality?
Aquaponics for Profit
Aquaponics has the potential to make money in a variety of ways. First of all, there’s the direct benefit of producing crops. The entrepreneur can choose which crops to plant and harvest, and see a nice turnaround in profits by selling to local farmer’s markets, grocery stores, or even entities like college campuses. Leafy greens and herbs tend to produce a nice profit, grown aquaponically. If certain produce items are selling at a good price, then why not plant them?!
Secondly, aquaponics has the complementary potential for growth in the fish market! If a favorable species of fish is used—like tilapia, for example—the fish can also be maintained for selling to local stores. This would also be beneficial for the buyer, especially for the vast majority of places that are not located on the coast with easy access to fresh fish! The average fish vender at a typical grocery store imports the fish from somewhere else—longer distances cost more money, and the fish are not fresh. Imagine if every vender had access to an aquaponics system, producing fresh fish without the travel time, and of a variety that consumers want!
Aquaponics is also profitable simply because of its efficiency. One person can easily manage an aquaponics system of 2,500 to 3,000 square feet. Necessary maintenance tasks include feeding fish, planting and transplanting crops, harvesting, weeding around the perimeter, delivering produce, and making sure there are no problems in the functioning of the system. With the right knowledge, research, business plan, and networking, there is not a need to hire and pay a large staff. After sorting out design details like land, electricity, water, etc. and paying for the initial cost of set-up, the right person can maintain the business fairly easily.
The last direct benefit of aquaponics is more wide-spread. Not only can it produce a healthy profit for the owner, it benefits the local community and economy, which is profitable for everyone. As previously mentioned, store owners, farmers markets, and fish venders alike, all have incentive to promote aquaponics. Aquaponics farms can also become centers for educational activity, field trip visits, and the inspiration of young minds in the community.
Using aquaponics for profit is an achievable goal. It is an efficient system that can be easily maintained once set up. The direct profits from the crops produced and the fish bred can be enough to sustain the business. But the benefits also trickle out to the surrounding community by connecting people, sellers, buyers, and educational institutions. It’s a good idea to support aquaponics in your local community!