Manila, Philippines – Despite recent advances in food technology, hunger is still a big problem in our country. Over 7 million children experience hunger and malnutrition in the Philippines because of inadequate access to nutritious food, lack of nutrition education and poor health and sanitation services.
Robi del Rosario knows this problem too well, and has developed a novel way to address it: “Aquaponics” – the science of growing plants without soil in a way that almost anyone can replicate.
His Barangay Aquaponics project aims to help marginalized communities to solve one of their biggest concerns: the lack of access to healthy, nutritious food.
“The United Nations stated [that] to end world hunger, we need to have localized food systems. And we feel that aquaponics will be part of the future in how we produce food, because it’s not only sustainable, it will also help address our nutrition problem, especially the children,” Del Rosario told Rappler.
The simple system looks complicated but is actually pretty easy to replicate: a fish tank is positioned right below a grow bed, and waste generated by fish like tilapia and shrimp are converted to food for the plants by nitrifying bacteria. The plants, in turn, filters and recirculates the clean water back to the fish, where the cycle begins again.