Focus: Land Resources
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Most of Egypt’s land is desert, leaving only the Nile Valley and Delta as suitable areas for agricultural ventures. However, cultivable land is now being taken over by the concrete complexes of large cities, and burdened by the heavy use of pesticides, which is depleting soil quality and polluting the Nile.
Faced with these challenges, Farris Farrag launched Bustan Aquaponics–Egypt’s first aquaponics farm–on the outskirts of Cairo. Spread over seven acres, Bustan Aquaponics connects four hydroponic beds to four fish tanks in order to mimic natural ecosystems. When fish breathe, they create ammonia which nourishes plants. In turn, plants clean the water to prevent the fish from being poisoned by high ammonia levels. Outside the fish tanks lies a pond with duckweed, which is fed to the fish. Nutrient-rich water from the pond is then used to water olive trees lining the farm to produce high-quality olive oil. In this integrated system, waste is minimised and all resources are used to their full potential without generating further pollution.
Bustan Aquaponics only uses 500 cubic meters of water per year to produce five to seven tons of fish as well as tens of thousands of lettuce heads. When compared to conventional farms, this represents a 95% reduction in water use. In the near future, Mr. Farrag plans to add three more hydroponic beds to make the farm more economically viable as well as introduce compost-fed chickens to create natural fertilizer for the soil.
Environmental Impact: Reduced water use, reduced use of harmful chemicals, avoided soil and water contamination
Measurement: Bustan Aquaponics
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