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No initiative to exploit aquaponics prospects

Published : 12 Mar 2022 09:48 PM | Updated : 13 Mar 2022 02:26 PM

Aquaponics, the integrated method of cultivating fish and vegetables using only one infrastructure is one of the most widely practiced and sustainable food production systems in the world.

However, no major initiative or project has yet been taken to expand it in Bangladesh. 

According to Agriculture Information Service (AIS), fish waste or contaminated water is used as food for the plant in this method, and clean water returns to the fish tank. Vegetables can be grown without soil and, the bacteria instantly removes all waste, dirt, etc. from the water. In this process, the cost of fish feed and electricity is also very low. 

Dr MA Salam, Professor at the Department of Aquaculture in Bangladesh Agricultural University is considered to be the pioneer of this method in Bangladesh.

He also received award for achieving success in the agricultural sector through aquaponics method. 

Talking to the Bangladesh Post, he said that as the amount of cultivable land in Bangladesh is reducing, aquaponics holds a bright prospect in our country in terms of fish farming and vegetable cultivation.

“I have been cultivating fish and vegetables in aquaponics method for the past 12 years. Through this method production of fish and vegetables can be ten times higher than in ponds or other methods of farming,” he said.

He expressed dissatisfaction over the fact and said that although this promising method is gaining popularity in our country slowly, no project on aquaponics has been undertaken on a large scale yet.

“The basic principle of aquaponics is that the fish produces waste and feeds the plants, and the plants clean the water for the fish - thus creating a continuous cycle,” he added.

Dr MA Salam started growing vegetables on the roof of his house in 2010, and later added fish in 2011.

Dr Mahbub-e-Alam, Joint Director of Bangladesh Agricultural Development Corporation (BADC) told the Bangladesh Post that aquaponics is definitely a potential method for fish and vegetable cultivation. 

“Government initiatives for this method are still in the research and experiment phase. Moreover, most of the people of our country do not know about this method yet. Hopefully, large-scale projects will be undertaken in near future to utilize this method in our country,” he said.

However, Md Rezaul Karim, Officer in-Charge and Principal Scientific Officer (PSO) of Institute of Technology Transfer and Innovation (ITTI) told the Bangladesh Post that the method of aquaponics is suitable for producing vegetables for a small number of people and can be set up on rooftops on a small scale.

He said, “Vegetables produced in this integrated method can have a foul smell and therefore has to be cooked properly and cannot be eaten as salads.”

He also mentioned that large-scale projects undertaken on aquaphonic method might not be successful.  

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