Aquaponics enables farmers to maximize on the piece of land they have available because it allows for multiple crop production. This approach allows one to grow more than one crop on the same piece of land in a single season. This means that the farmer is able to effectively utilize space as well as other outputs like water, soil and fertilizer. Multiple cropping may be used to grow annual crops, fruits, vegetables, fodders and perennial crops.
Growing food demand
With the ever increasing population, demand for food is on the rise across the globe. Growing more crops on a single space increases the harvest multiple times which helps meet the rising demand for food. Globally, the average amount of food that each person needs per day has increased from 2220 kcal in the 1960s to about 2790 kcal. Developing countries have recorded a higher increase, from about 1850 kcal to more than 2640 kcal per person per day, according to the 2016 World Hunger and Poverty Facts and Statistics.
Globally, the World Food Organization estimates that about 795 million people are food insecure. In 2011, an estimated 42.2 million were food insecure in the US, meaning that they did not have sufficient food to live a healthy and active life.
By the year 2050, the world population will increase by 60% to reach about 9 billion people, up from the current 7.2 billion. The US alone will have a population of between 422 and 458 million people by 2050 according to US Census Bureau estimates. This means the world will have more mouths to feed and will need to produce 50% more to meet this demand.
With Aquaponics, farmers can harvest more compared to conventional farming methods. This system allows for fast growth of vegetables, up to three or four times the standard rate without depleting soil nutrients which means less synthetic fertilizer is used on crops to replace depleted nutrients.
Land use has changed significantly over the past few decades. By 2050, only 1/3 of the worldâs population will be living in rural areas as rapid urbanization takes up agriculturalÂ land. The growth of cities and infrastructural facilities eats into farming space as urban areas expand.
Prime Farmland on the Path of Development: Shaded States are above the median in the ratio of Prime Farmland Decline to Total Farmland Decline, 1982 to 2010
Productive farmlands in the US are under threat of development. According to a fact
sheet developed by American Farmland Trust in 2014, an estimated 86% of fruits and vegetables in the country are farmed in areas that are threatened by development. The amount of prime farmland affected by development has increased over time as reflected in the diagram below. Between 2008 and 2010, an estimated 44,504 acres of farmland was affected by urban development in California alone.
Aquaponics is bound to provide a solution to the shrinking farming space and the ever growing demand for food due to increasing population. This type of farming is not land intensive. It makes it possible to grow crops in cities without forcing farmers to acquire huge tracks of fertile land to grow. Crops can be grown with water and fish, unlike the conventional way of growing which is dependent on soil.