Aquaponics is a combination of aquaculture (growing of fishes) and hydroponics (growing of plants in water). In aquaponics, both these methods are combined to grow fishes and plants together. The nitrifying microorganisms present in water (rhizobacteria, fungi, micro plankton, etc.) convert the waste excreted by fishes to nitrates. These nitrates are then taken up by plants for their growth. Thus, in aquaponics, plants grow together with fishes in one integrated system.
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Aquaponic plants have the potential to become a major source of food by which it can contribute to the growing demand for food. According to the report ‘Agricultural productivity and innovation’, published by Food and Agricultural Organization, 2018, agriculture will need to produce almost 50% more food, feed, and biofuel in 2050 than it did in 2012 to meet the demand of increasing population, which is expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050.
Aquaponics farming offer water as well as nutrients efficient growing of plants, as plants are grown without use of soil, pesticides, herbicides or any chemical fertilizers. Moreover, crops can be grown any time in a year irrespective of the climate. Therefore, ability of aquaponics to serve as a sustainable solution for growing food plants is expected to drive the aquaponics market growth.
Aquaponics also has the potential to become sustainable solution of fish production to meet rising demand for fish and fish products. According to the report ‘The State of World Fisheries And Aquaculture’ published by Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) in 2018, the global apparent consumption of fish increased to around 151 million tons in 2016 from around 140 million tons in 2013, whereas world edible fish consumption in 2030 is projected to be 20% higher than that in 2016. Therefore, aquaponics has the potential to cater to increasing fish demand, which in turn is expected to boost the aquaponics market growth.
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Key players operating in the global aquaponics market include Ouroboros Farms, Future Foods Farms, Nelson and Pade, Inc., Ecf Farmsystems GMBH, Oko Farms, Bioaqua Farm, BIGH farm, GrowUp Urban Farms Ltd., Aquaponics Innovations, Midas Aquaponics, Southwest Aquaponics & Fish Hatchery LLC., and Bustan Aquaponics