12 Jun 2012

Growing method could help ease food security concerns in Cook Islands

3:03 pm on 12 June 2012

A new method of growing plants which could help ease food security concerns will be tried out in the Cook Islands.

A New Zealand-based agency Pacific Islands Trade and Investment, has implemented the scheme in Rarotonga which combines aquaculture and hydroponics.

The agency's Dev Nadkarni says the aquafarm will open in late August and describes the aquaponics method as using fish poo to grow plants.

Fish are grown in tanks and then the water is run through hydroponic trays - lettuce will be the first focus but anything can be grown, and the fish can also be eaten.

Mr Nadkarni says there's evidence that plants grow faster under aquaponic systems and uses only 15 percent of the land that would be required for traditional ground planting.

He says the method may play an important role in future agriculture and says supermarket chains in the United States are looking at implementing aquaponic systems on their rooftops in order to get fresh produce without the carbon footprint.