HOW TO START A SUCCESSFUL AQUAPONICS BUSINESS
by Davide Di Crescenzo
The first rule to learn is: none can teach you how to start a successful Aquaponics business. So, I apologize with you for the misleading title.
Actually, each project has its own peculiarities in terms of:
- Sistem design and scale (size) chosen
- The materials for the construction of the systems
- Geographical area for the implementation of your Aquaponics facility
- Crops and fish/crayfish/turtles to farm
- Market analysis of the demand you’re planning to satisfy
- The cost of the workforce
In other words, there are so many factors to take into account that it’s impossible to any serious expert provide a truthful answer for you, unless you don’t invest in an accurate consultancy service.
This is a crucial point that quite all the beginners don’t take into consideration.
I have been working in this professional field as consultant, teacher and Aquaponics system developer for the last ten years. Thus, I acquired a significant amount of experience concerning the most frequent questions by budding aquaponists.
Such as, for instance:
- Which are the actual costs of implementing and carrying out an Aquaponics facility?
- How much is the income I can get from a production in Aquaponics?
So, to these types of questions I can just answer with further questions. Since the investment required, the fixed costs and the income varies from project to project. It would be unfair of me pretend to have a standard model to give you as a point of reference.
What I can assure to you is that it’s attainable to build an Aquaponics greenhouse like ours with only € 1.500. Therefore, unlikely many people claim, the initial investment required by the construction of an aquaponics system can be significantly lowered. It’s just a matter of redesigning an acquired know-how in the light of the project’s specific requirements and conditions.
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(1) In other words, don’t restrict your possibilities to the umpteenth copy of the Virgin Island’s UVI system. Choose the system design that better adapts to the core business of your activity and the type of production or service you intend to provide for your customers with
According to me, this is the first of the main mistakes the budding aquaponsists do.
(2) As well as, starting big. Don’t play rough! At the beginning, practice with a small-scale aquaponics system. Then, while gradually you get ever and ever more confident in managing it, add a bigger one to the first one. And so forth. In fact, the first rule of whatever Aquaculture activity is: start with a system that can be managed by one operator on his/her own.
Remember that bigger is the system – and consequently higher is the density of fish and plants to farm – littler room is left to you to remedy a whatever mistake of disfunction of the system. The same shall apply in cases of the outbreak of a disease within the system.
(3) In this respect, don’t undervalue the risk of an epidemic with your fish tanks. No matter how resistant is the species you’re farming or the trust you have in the farmer you buy from. In the design plans of your systems include fish tanks that aren’t connected between each other. Furthermore, I suggest to you to choose a decoupled system – like the one the FAO’s Manual points out. In such a way, whatever problem you may have – it’s impossible you’ll never have one – you’ll not lose all your production.
All these mistakes result from the inexperience. And for a beginner, the only way to avoid them is to benefit from the expertise of anyone who has at his back years of work in this field.
Hence, we get to my last tip for you.
(4) Don’t be arrogant! No matter how many tutorials or articles on the Net you’ve read, you’re not an expert. You need the supervision and assistance of long-experienced experts at least for the first years.
In fact, on the Net you may find several misleading, tricky and contraddictory data about Aquaponics. Many operators of the field pretend to hold the universal know-how. But this is an ever-evolving professional sector. Many trials has to be done, yet, to unleash its full potential.
This is the reason why we implemented My Rivendell as an international Aquaponics training center. We organize workshops on niche-market expensive crops and fish/crayfish.
Most noteworthy, we care about growing a community for an open discussion and confrontation.