Tripartite to provide aquaponics training on Abaco


Tribune Business Reporter


A Tripartite agricultural partnership led by the Volcani International Partnership (VIP) is providing training in aquaponics on Abaco for food sustainability for the entire country says its programme director.

David Chapot, programme director for VIP, said that the tripartite partnership is between, Blue Atlas, which has been on the ground in Abaco since 2019 in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian and the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) along with VIP, will bring training in aquaponics for Abaco. They have already started the training initiatives with a view to taking it virtual in the near future in order to serve more people around the archipelago and wider Caribbean.

“There were a total of 50 people that came to our initial training workshop,” Mr Chapot said. “This specific project is focused on basically sharing some of Israel’s expertise and knowledge when it comes to aquaponics specifically, with a focus on Abaco. The course is open to be attended by anyone, anywhere, regardless of location. But our focus in this instance is really on Abaco.”

The VIP recently engaged the government of The Bahamas in July with a $3m tie-up on innovative food production. Being an Israeli firm, they have the technical expertise in developing agriculture under trying and difficult agricultural conditions.

Mr Chapot said: “The focus of this project is to bridge the need on the ground with some of the innovations and knowledge Israel has.

“So basically this project involves a few different things. The first is basically an assessment and advisory and teaching programme, actually happening physically on the ground in Abaco and that’s actually happened already. We are now entering into the second phase of this programme, which is the online course that we’re delivering over the course of seven weeks freely accessible and no one has to pay.”

Through the second, online phase, VIP intends to share the solutions and “best practices” they have and are bringing to Abaco with the wider Bahamas and Caribbean in mind.

This engagement is just for “advisory and training in aquaponics” and not a dollar investment in agriculture or into any entity in Abaco.

Aquaponics “stands out” for The Bahamas and presents a different challenge to food sustainability than does traditional agriculture where, “it presents several

advantages” Mr Chapot said. He continued, “Aquaponics for the Caribbean is an efficient way of producing food. You’re not just producing a single crop, but you are symbiotically producing crops on the one hand and fish or crustaceans or seafood on the other hand.”

Mr Chapot also said: “This is so efficient, not just in terms of the food you produce, but it provides for more space efficiency and you can produce a fair amount of food with a limited amount of land.”

Finding arable land in a significant quantity has always been a challenge, and while large islands like Andros, Abaco and Grand Bahama have acres of unused land, getting the land to become farmable has always been the challenge with Bahamian agriculture. The second challenge has been with regard to water use. “Aquaponics is also very efficient in terms of water use as there is very little water that’s wasted in an aquaponic system. As we all know, water is a precious scarce resource and increasingly becoming more scarce,” added Mr Chapot.

Aquaponics has the capacity to deliver produce all year round regardless of the season and paradoxically it reduces water usage and it “reutilizes” some of the waste produced from the fish as a natural fertilizer for the crops. “This also can be done profitably and it is not just about increasing local food production, but it can also be about offering budding agri-entrepreneurs and farmers who want to diversify their activities and develop an extra income stream they can explore,” said Mr Chapot.

There are “only certain types of crops that are suitable” for an aquaponic system, “Basically they are leafy greens, vegetables that are water dense like cucumbers and different types of herbs. So this isn’t a silver bullet and we won’t be able to grow everything through aquaponics, but we will be able to add something really interesting and valuable,” he noted.


Flyingfish 1 year, 8 months ago

Its good that the government is pushing the development of our agriculture industry, BAMSI, and aquaponic methods. Hopefully they continue to do so and not allow the destruction of Agriculture in the years after 1973.

Food security is state security.


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