The Integrated Aquaculture Farm typically comprises of the following components or processes
COMPONENT 1 (RAS System)
COMPONENT 2 (Aquaponics)
From the RAS plant, we use aspects of the Integrated Recycling System, which takes advantage of the hydroponics, where the RAS waste feeds into the hydroponic plant crop. Carefully cultured microorganisms in the Hydroponic bed convert ammonia to nitrates, where the nitrates and phosphates fertilise the plants.
COMPONENT 3 (Verimiculture)
The plants aid in filtration, acting as bio filters to remove nitrates from the water. The effluent from the tanks or pond first run through a clarifier Vermiculture, (worm farm), to remove the majority of the suspended solids. After this step, the water runs through a container where plants are grown. This may be a series of trays that have plants floating on the water, or the plants may be growing in a medium such as gravel.
This water may then either flow through another filter or be returned to the Aquaculture tank. The combination of agriculture and aquaculture in this way is commonly referred to as Aquaponics. Plant crops in Aquaponics are usually limited to lettuce and other leafy crops, since they readily use the nitrogen present in the aquaculture systems as well as calcium (which is not present in aquaculture systems).
COMPONENT 4 (Alternative Energy)
The farms cannot be without electricity for more than a couple of hours. Apart from the ever-rising cost in the price of electricity, there is a real and urgent need to find alternative forms of energy.
Depending on the location and appetite to provide alternative “green” electricity for the community and the farm, there is a range of solutions that would be ideally suited for farms in Africa including (a) The hydro system - based on the compression of air as the water falls from the lakes and rivers forcing the air through a diminished pipe system that then drives a fan to a generator to produce a given amount of power. The hydro system can be placed in almost any rural or urban situation to deliver power either to the grid or for local take off. The installation is quick and easy to erect. This system is reliable and highly profitable (b) a larger system is an Algae-Biodiesel plant. A typical plant delivers a healthy return on investment and apart from providing energy to the Integrated Aquaculture Farm, the algae can be used as feed for the fish and worms. Other solutions include (c) solar voltaic panels and (d) wind turbines.
COMPONENT 5 (Carbon Credit)
The process that enables a project to earn carbon credits is extremely rigorous and in order for a project to qualify it has to be accredited through the UN after a detailed analysis that accesses the carbon emissions impact BEFORE a project is initiated. Only after the project viability from a carbon footprint has been calculated and approved by the UN controlling board, can the project earn carbon credits. This is then controlled through on-going monitoring to ensure the prescribed emission levels are in check and the technological processes are performing as they should.
Carbon credits can be earned in the following areas:
Environmental impact of increasing aquaculture farming versus Lake Fish Farming;
Benefits associated with creating employment and infrastructure in rural areas;
Benefits of repopulating lakes and dams with fingerlings, and the impact this will have on the environment (the lakes and dams in Malawi are being fished out)
Benefits resulting from improved living standards, in the rural communities especially with the introduction of WIND and HYDRO energy. Such systems can have a profound impact on the environment; for example: less trees are chopped down to fuel cooking fires and brick kilns as communities embrace more energy efficient solutions.
Benefits of replacing Diesel Electrical Power stations and or Generators with alternative greener energy .
Benefits of self sustainable fish farms with locally produced fish feed versus importing fish feed or fish.
The Carbon credit footprint can increase the returns of an Integrated Aquaculture Farm by as much as 5%. The more layered the farm, the higher the returns.
COMPONENT 6 (Project Management)
A project of the size described needs a good and sound project management. The importance of providing specialist support services with proper project planning and role out is indispensible for any successful project. The Consortium via the services of Target Project has a team of multi-disciplinary individuals with the requisite skills to successfully manage the demands of complex projects. A project is not necessarily restricted to the components herein outlined – are several other aspects to a solution which form part of the Consortium’s Intellectual Property which contribute to the success, sustainability and profitability of a project.
COMPONENT 7 (Summary)
The Integrated Aquaculture Farm is a well-balanced system that guarantees an optimal production environment from both a management and biological perspective. The Integrated Aquaculture Farm is further enhanced by embracing both cage and pond farming and although it is an indoor farm, it possesses the means to supply cage and pond farmers with fingerlings. Once the fingerlings are mature, they can be sold back to the Farm for onward processing, marketing and resale.
The Integrated Aquaculture Farm contributes towards economic empowerment and the social development of disadvantaged rural communities through the sustainable utilisation of resources. Aquaculture (i) improves the living standards of rural communities, (ii) provides opportunities to participate in the regional and national economy, (iii) contributes to food security and poverty alleviation directly by producing fish, and (iv) generates employment and income. The collaborative will target disadvantaged rural people with a focus on women.
Aquaculture plays an important role in complementing the sustainability of fisheries resources by relieving pressure on wild stocks.