The term “farm” usually suggests a large parcel of land. Thus, an aquaponics farm would suggest a large unit or several of them. On a global scale, most aquaponics being practiced is that of backyard aquaponics. But “What exactly does an aquaponics farm entail?” you might ask.
Just as in backyard aquaponics, once you have a working and optimally yielding system, it can be scaled up copying exactly the first unit. In Aquaponics farms, instead of starting with a “family-sized” unit that will supply the needs of a single-family, the scale is multiplied, to begin with.
These can be as small as a 1000sqm facility, to many times that. The principle is the same, the moment the single facility is producing optimally; a copy of it can be constructed. This doubles the output of the business. This process can be repeated many times over with manageable units working separately but as a whole.
Aquaponics farm – location
The location of an aquaponics farm is very important. Perhaps the most important factor of all is to have plenty of sunlight. There is no way around this since plants can only survive cost-effectively with natural sunlight (read lamps and lighting bills).
Another factor to consider is direct access to the market. One of the most advantageous things aquaponics farms offer is that they do not need arable land. A disused parking lot will do. Even former industrial lots will do. In fact, any place will do but, it would best be located near the market supply chain. This not only cuts down on transportation cost, and carbon footprint, but makes use of land that would otherwise be vacant.
Another great advantage to urban and suburban aquaponics farms is that the people and small businesses around them can be supplied directly. This assures people of their foodstuffs quality, and even allows them to see where their produce comes from.
Aquaponics farm – design
As always, business begins with a business plan followed by a viable design. Aquaponics farm businesses work the same way. Decide the size and secure the finances for the construction of the first unit, then find the right people to help build, equip, and supply it. Design is very important since it ensures maximum efficiency. The unit must be easily duplicated should business expansion be the goal. A record of costs must be meticulously kept to keep track of the money needed to build the first unit. By adding a percentage for inflation each time you expand the business, you can have a rough figure of what the following units would cost to establish.
Aquaponics farm – funding
If personal funding is unavailable a good business plan that makes sense and would encourage a lender to part with money is essential for an aquaponics farm. Banks will only give money if they feel they have their backs covered, and the venture in question has a good chance of success.
Another way to go about it is to get people that are interested in the venture to be a part of it. It is not unlikely that there are people that will be equally excited about such a venture, and would be willing to fund part of the initial business. Perhaps they would even wish to become partners spreading the workload and risks.
In time, a large aquaponics farm with many units not only would provide huge amounts of good quality food to a nearby market but also a sizeable income to people who funded and had a role in it. Ultimately everyone wins, and that includes the environment.
Aquaponics farm – side businesses
Many more advantages can be listed here, but one particular advantage is that of the side businesses that can be created off an urban or suburban aquaponics farm.
We must not forget that fish and aquaculture are an important part of aquaponics. The scale of such a business produces compost in large quantities, this can be sold. Another byproduct of fish is super rich in nutrients solid fish manure; this too can be siphoned off and sold. Yet another by-product is earthworms a vital creature in any type of agriculture and one of the best means to make the land arable. These are prolific in aquaponics systems. Much more so in an aquaponics farm, and keep in mind that all these are scaled up predictably with every new unit constructed.
Aquaponics farm – conclusion
An aquaponics farm is a serious undertaking that required thought, location planning, design, funding, and above all expertise in the mechanics of the project. It is not recommended for people that are just starting out unless they are quite expert in the subject, or have direct access to people who are.
The potential of such a business is enormous with the right funding and people to put it into action. The benefits offered by such a business are also to be seriously considered in our changing world. People all over the world have become far more sensitive to the environment, and aquaponics does much to enhance it.
Like any business venture, it has risks, but also profits on a grand scale, if criteria are met that will provide those profits.