Aquaponics meet held in Rarotonga


<p style="text-align: justify;">Aquaculture technical experts from around the Pacific gathered in Rarotonga last week for an expert consultation on aquaponics, a technique of growing vegetables and fish in the same culture system.<!--more--></p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Pacific Islands Trade &amp; Invest (PT&amp;I) New Zealand was instrumental in setting up the Pacific Islands region’s first commercial scale aquaponics in Rarotonga in 2012 ahead of the 43rd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting with financial contribution from the New Zealand Government’s International Development Group (IDG) and itself.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">The goal of last week’s meeting, jointly organised by Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) and Cook Islands Ministry of Marine Resources MMR, was to scope out key issues and develop strategies for aquaponics development in the Pacific islands region, to contribute toward improved nutrition, food security and livelihoods, especially in small-island and atoll locations.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Te Raurau o te Kaingavai, the aquaponics venture at Titikaveka, which PT&amp;I built, was the venue for meeting’s deliberations where a practical hands-on session was also held. A group of academics and researchers from the University of Hawaii also attended.</p>
<p style="text-align: justify;">Aquaponics is an emerging new food production system that combines aquaculture of freshwater fish with hydroponics of vegetables, salad greens and herbs. The wastes of fish culture are used as the main source of nutrients for plants, and water emerges from the plant grow-beds in a condition where it can be re-used by the fish. This re-cycling of nutrients and water, and the compact size of the culture system, makes them efficient in use of nutrients, water and land area.</p>
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