Charting the Path to Food Security!

Submitted by Baird’s Village Aquaponics Association (BVAA)

This is an overview of the plan for the building of a privately owned aquaponics industry capable of providing 100% of Barbados’s locally consumed herbs and vegetables; We invite you to our open day on June 10th time 7 till 11 or 1 till 5 to take a close look at the future of local farming – click on the link to find the farm using Google Maps – . The Aquaponics machine is the open sourced solution for mainstream adaptation of a food production system independent of the global industrial agriculture complex. We must reach 2 tipping points in this journey to achieve market acceptance. 1500 persons must adopt hobby level systems and 700 persons must adopt semi commercial systems. I will tell you why below but first let me tell you why aquaponics is the solution.

The true cost of food is subsidized by outside market forces, what we pay for food is considerably less than the cost to produce the actual food. Farming is very difficult because farming is actually in a different sector of the economy from all other goods and services this is called the primary economy and this is evident in the fact that farmers pay retail for inputs and sell produce at wholesale price, the reverse of the secondary economy cash flow model which is to buy low add a profit and sell high.

Aquaponics works because of two factors, the first factor is because it is water based farming so the physical work of moving and processing manure on the farm is transferred from inefficient manual labor to precise electrical work of water pumps offering an exact monetary value for the work input to a farming system. When coupled with solar powered systems the payment amounts are below the current rates charged by the electrical company. The second factor is because 100% of the fish waste is reused as the main input for plant production. The efficiency of having two financial models operating with one input is what gives aquaponic systems the ability to operate without subsidies. And it has been proven to be culturally accepted mainly because of highly localized distribution networks.

Using a standardize 350 gallon component with a small footprint allows for little altering to the land and because of the water based nature of aquaponics there is little pollution therefore it is the only farming model capable of operation in residential areas. By using one standard 350 gall container it makes the complex dynamics of aquaponics adaptable by ratio, the basic one being 1 fish component to 4 plant components. It takes a minimum of 206 components in a network to produce minimal viable cash flow per operator.

It’s a long term investment; we have to sell 1500 hobby level systems to raise the resale value of the component to 50% of original cost. At this first topping point the market will be consuming enough fish feed to lower the cost to $1 per pound. Hobby level systems have a quick ROI of 4 years because they are competing against organic supermarket prices. The lower feed input cost will in turn be lowering return on investment for commercial investors in the wholesale market to 4 years making way for larger scale investment in the industry. At this secondary tipping point of 700 full time operators a computerized network with a centralized processing and supporting system can accurately predict 3 months of food production, securing sales.


  • In the same way Minister Stephen Lashley is reported to be dropping road tennis courts all over the place and has allocated $500,000 to the sport, one wonders why Minister of Agriculture David Estwick does not see the need to allocate maybe $100,000 to spreading the word about Aquaponics by recruiting the people at BVAA.


  • Excellent article. When will the penny drop: the land needs to be worked!

    Take a look at what is happening in Greece.


  • Or does it?


  • @Exclaimer

    What does the lack of discussion on this topic right here on BU says to you? Scan the media on the eve of the budget and what is the preponderance of commentary about? Not a mention of agriculture in any serious way.


  • Frustrated Businessman: enact Facilitation Martial Law!

    Agriculture in this country has been demonised by every gov’t since independence.

    If we want to take agriculture seriously we need to remove 50 years of stigma.

    Currently, it is not an inspirational lifetime pursuit in Bim.

    Maybe a restoration of free university education in this field might help. Thousands of acres of gov’t and CLICO land sitting idle that could be available for free.


  • And we continue to give the MoA Estwick a pass. It seems he will be preoccupied with another report leaked to the media concerning the BWA. He may have to fire the Chairman or general manager because they are on both sides of an issue.


  • William Skinner

    @ David
    Why are you surprised by the poor response, after all this is a topic about the future and will not attract those whose only living purpose is to elect the BLPDLP.
    It is now a decade that the Mahogany Coconut Group has been calling for millions to be invested in fisheries and agriculture.
    Bet you anything that if the project gets going those who now control the wealth would be waiting to “buy out” all those who did the groundwork.
    Why do you feel they are waiting on government to invest in the energy sector?
    Why do you think agriculture is where it’s at ?
    I wish the project all the best because we talk about forex while we eating Haagean Dazs ice cream.


  • Vincent Haynes


    This post is a step in the right direction and being undertaken without govt support it would seem. I wish them success.

    Like you I have noted the silence on this subject as well as the free pass given to the MoA,nor do I expect to see anything about Ag. in this budget.

    Frustrated’s comment is on point but we were starting to turn it around in the late 90s,then with 9/11 it dropped off the radar.

    As I had stated before the Scotland District had been identified as the bread basket of Bim by the then govt and the farms in the area since the late 90s were ready to involve their lands in this exercise that never came to fruition.

    The point of combining solar technology with Greenhouses has been made here time and time again as a way forward with the only obstacle being the merchants.

    Miller has been calling for hemp production for the longest time as a viable crop to rotate with cane and I have shown the benefits of cane production not solely for the production of sugar.

    Chuckle….I note that apparently only Mahogany court has been pleading the case of Ag and fisheries…..some people only read what they want to see…..ah well myopia lives on in our fair land.


  • Frustrated Businessman: enact Facilitation Martial Law!

    The actual numbers are quite staggering.

    Without sugar cane or Guyana-level of water, large-scale agriculture is impossible in Bim. The former provides weed and bug free crop rotation which restores nutrients food crops need and the later artificially introduces those nutrients to food crops.

    Historically, planted cane might produce 25 tonnes per acre. Ratoons 20 TPA in most regions of Bim.

    Current cost per tonne of cane by private growers producing 60% of cane delivered to the factory is around $120 per tonne based on long-depreciated plant and no re-investment.

    Currently, BADMC is spending in excess of $220 to produce a tonne of cane and some of their fields are returning less than 5 tonnes per acre.

    The money that CBC pisses away each year to provide shit TV service and employ less than 100 people could return sugar production to 40,000 tonnes annually, employ 2,000 people, restore drainage, suck wells, hedge rows and gullies AND FOOD SECURITY just by guaranteeing $160 per tonne for private growers and pay it upon delivery to the factory.

    But that would be too easy for our clowns.


  • Frustrated Businessman: enact Facilitation Martial Law!

    To be clear, I am not suggesting that we ignore new agriculture initiatives and technology. I am simply making the point that we could be much further ahead by simply managing what we already have so that profits from operations could be used to develop new technology, as is common in any manufacturing business model.


  • William Skinner

    @ Vincent Haynes

    Never said that Mahogany Coconut was the “only” one pushing Agriculture and Fisheries.


  • Tompson had it right when he put agriculture and small business together. Yes we have to fight two generations of stigma. But aquaponics is science…..and high science at that. So the culture will accept it.

    I don’t think the political class understand’s what’s the deal here. Why some people building walls and others britxing. It’s because of what’s about to happen. I don’t care what big up job you have….you ent going work hungry. Local food production is essential for life on this big rock in the middle of the sea.

    I hope wanna tell who interstellar in this kinda thing to come out on the 10th


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  • Talking Loud Saying Nothing

    Food for thought.

    “With cuts and weaker regulation, how can we be sure our food is safe to eat?”


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