In recent years, the interest of agricultural producers in a high-tech method of co-cultivation of plants and fish has been growing. Stimulate its dissemination author of "20 Ideas for the Development of Russia" Dmitry Davydovoffers preferential tax treatment.
New — this is a well-forgotten old
Aquaponics today is commonly called an innovative technology that combines the best achievements of aquaculture (growing fish in artificial reservoirs) and hydroponics (cultivating plants in a special nutrient solution without soil). At the heart of — the use of fish waste processed by bacteria as food for plants. The latter, in turn, purify the water for the fish. Thus, a symbiosis of three natural elements and a closed production cycle are formed.
However, the joint cultivation of fish and plants has been practiced since time immemorial in the water trenches of Babylon, in the rice fields of Southeast Asia. It was also known to the Aztecs. But only in the 21st century did aquaponics become a high-tech branch of agriculture, especially popular where there is not enough water and not very fertile soil.
The aquaponic system includes a fish tank, a culture of nitrifying bacteria necessary to decompose ammonia into plant-available nitrates, a thermostatically controlled heater to maintain a constant temperature in the fish tank, an aerator or oxygenator to enrich the water with oxygen, equipment to adjust the pH level in water, a pump for supplying water to plants and, accordingly, fish with plants.
Modern aquaponic farms grow almost all types of greens, Chinese cabbage, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, melons, strawberries, legumes and even cut flowers. And from aquatic animals, preference is given to tilapia, trout, sturgeon, carp, eel, catfish, as well as freshwater crayfish, shrimps and mussels.
There are clearly more advantages
The advantages of aquaponics compared to traditional agriculture are quite obvious to its supporters. Water consumption is reduced by 85-90%, and production per square meter is 8 times more.
There is no need to use artificial fertilizers for plants and hormones for fish, which makes the products environmentally friendly. And it is especially important for entrepreneurs to have year-round production in any climatic conditions.
In addition, aquaponic farms can be built near cities and rural settlements, providing quality products to any regions of Russia, even the most remote ones, while reducing logistics costs.
Well, the direct benefit for consumers lies in the delivery of fresh products in a short time and, accordingly, in a healthy diet.
It is fair to call this agribusiness science-intensive. To achieve success in it, you need to master the skills of a plant grower and fish farmer, a technologist and engineer, and an ecologist. Here, the quality control of the aquatic environment, its acid-base balance, temperature and electrical conductivity, as well as the competent selection of fish food and the timely removal of its residues, play an important role.
There are few risks in business. For example, this is a pump blockage or electrical equipment failure. In general, this is a promising business, as both foreign experience and the first domestic examples show. & nbsp;
The future belongs to the “green” technologies
Aquaponics farming is gaining momentum in Holland, Denmark, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, New Zealand. But the top 10 world leaders include 8 companies from the United States, one each from Japan and Australia. They are engaged in the study of methods to improve efficiency in aquaponics, production and installation of equipment, consulting and training.
Due to the growing demand for quality food, the global market for aquaponics products is expected to grow rapidly. Its volume in 2025 will amount to 1.4 billion dollars. Will Russia occupy any niche in this market?
We recognize that in our country aquaponics as a direction of agriculture is just emerging. The first farms appeared in the mid-2010s in the Astrakhan region. Now a fairly large aqua farm is under construction in the Krasnodar Territory. At the same time, the number of enthusiasts using aquaponics in home gardens is growing.
The introduction of preferential taxation will contribute to the scaling of this innovative direction in the agricultural sector of the economy. So, the author of the project “20 ideas for the development of Russia” Dmitry Davydov proposes to establish maximum tax incentives for companies that are engaged in research and development of aquaponics technology, production, installation and maintenance of equipment for aquaponic farms.
This will stimulate the dissemination of new knowledge and the development of environmentally friendly technology by domestic agricultural producers. The high demand for fresh organic vegetables, herbs and fish will quickly offset the cost of setting up aquaponic farms and provide sustainable profits for local producers in the future.
State support for aquaponics technologies will not only revive entrepreneurial activity in agriculture, but also make quality food more accessible to citizens. All this will have a positive impact on the environment and public health in the foreseeable future due to saving water and eliminating the use of chemicals in production.
Due to the growing global problem of hunger and access to quality food due to the COVID-19 pandemic The United Nations hosted the 2021 Food Systems Summit. One of the five strategic directions for tackling the food crisis was the development of environmentally friendly food production methods. The scientific group of the summit, studying this direction, recommended to pay special attention to the “green” technologies that use the effect of symbiosis and mutual biostimulation of species produced in terrestrial and aquatic resources. Scientists noted that such systems do not need chemical fertilizers, increase yields and have a much less environmental impact.