Kota Kinabalu: The Agriculture and Food Industry Ministry is keen on promoting aquaponics as one of the ways to ensure people can obtain healthier organic food.
Apart from that, Agriculture and Food Industry Minister Datuk Junz Wong said the system could also help the people, especially rural folk to improve their income.
“Today (Friday), I am showing a sample of the aquaponics system being set up in the Ministry’s office,” he said, here, Friday.
“I would like to demonstrate that if we are able to grow vegetables and raise fish in the office even without sunlight, then we can do it anywhere.”
Aquaponics is a sustainable combination of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (soilless growing of plants) that grows fish and plants together in one integrated system.
In aquaponics, the nutrient-rich water from raising fish provides a natural fertiliser for the plants and the plants help to purify the water for the fish.
Among the benefits of the aquaponics system are no harmful petrochemicals, pesticides or herbicides are used and it also eliminates weeds and small animal access to the farming area.
Aquaponics can be used to sustainably raise fresh fish and vegetables for a family, to feed a village or to generate profit in a commercial farming venture, all year around, in any climate.
Among the vegetables grown in the Ministry’s office were spinach, mustard leaf, lady’s fingers while some of the fishes raised were tilapia and silver catfish.
“The system installed in the office could produce 300 pots of vegetables every month.
“It cost around RM15,000 but for self consumption, growers can use smaller cheaper modules.
“The Ministry will also provides 100 free aquaponics installation every year for those in the B40 group (those who have a median household income of RM3,000), apart from giving training to those who are interested.
“This is also part of our efforts to encourage the people to grow their own food.
“It is hoped that one day, the people will not only have sufficient food supply but also have surpluses which they can sell or send to factories to be manufactured into other food items,” he said.
Wong said those who are interested are welcomed to submit their application to the Ministry.