GFAR blog

YAP proposal #64: Vertical Aquaponics System (Yacouba Toussaint , Grenada)

Block Diagram Of Vertical Aquaponics System

I am 31 year old Yacouba Toussaint from the village of River Sallee, St. Patrick, Grenada West Indies. I attended the Mac Donald College high school (1997-2002), and then moved on to T. A. Marryshow Community College (2002-2004) where I studied Electronics.

My primary business is Agriculture sustain by renewable energy systems. The project I propose is a Vertical Aquaponics system, which will be sustained by renewable energy sources, validating a natural self-sustained food production system.

Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. They both have downsides. With hydroponics, expensive nutrients are needed to feed the plants, and this system requires periodic flushing of the waste water, which is not environmentally sustainable. With aquaculture, excess nutrients need to be removed from the system. Therefore, nutrient-rich water must be disposed of, and replaced with, clean fresh water.

By combining aquaculture and hydroponics in a re-circulating system, the negative aspects of both are turned into positives. The fish fertilize the water in the tanks. That nutrient-rich water is then pumped up to feed the vegetable plants growing in the grow towers. The water trickles down through a gravel media, and the roots of the plants absorb the nutrients before the now-clean water drains back into the fish tanks.

Aquaponics is a self-sustaining system. An aquaponic system can support a high-density stock of fish, and very little water is needed because it is always re-circulating. An aquaponic system uses 1/10th of the water needed to grow the same number of plants in the ground. A vertical Aquaponics growing system reduces the land and space requirement and has the ability to set up units indoors, reducing transportation costs.

I would like to integrate the flood and drain, the deep water culture and the vertical towers in a single Aquaponics system to grow a wider range of crops simultaneously.

Aquaponics is a term that was coined in the 1970s, from the aquaculture industry as fish farmers were exploring methods of raising fish while trying to decrease their dependence on the land, water and other resources. But the practice has ancient roots some of the earliest example are the lowland Maya, the Aztecs, South China, Thailand, and Indonesia in approximately 1,000 A.D.

Aquaponic systems are extremely effective development projects because they span so many elements of human security. For food and environmental security, these systems provide a means of producing large amounts of organic fish and vegetables at a fraction of the environmental impact that traditional farming. It would expand food production economically for the world’s growing population, which will grow from the current seven billion to nine billion by 2050 without detriment to the environment by reduction in the cost of production, making both production and food locally available and affordable.

It requires no weeding or fertilizing, uses less energy, operates on renewable energy, no soil Pests are harnessed, no watering, plants grow faster, healthier foods, less back breaking work. This is a sustainable environmentally friendly food production system, which could have zero negative impact on our environment.

Economically, community members are able to profit from the fish and vegetables they sell. In terms of health security, community members have a stable source of protein and nutritional vegetables.

One of my greatest motivations comes from an experience in my childhood. As a child, I spent a lot of time watching a television show entitled “Captain Planet” in which the protagonist, Captain Planet, fought incessantly to save the environment. This inspired me to want to play my part to preserve our natural environment. Coupled with this, my love for electronics fuelled me to construct electronic devices, one of which was a miniature wind turbine used to generate electricity.

Due to the economic climate in the world today, the energy and food insecurities due to climate change, encouraged me to find an eco- friendly way to do agriculture. Consequently I built an eco-friendly renewable energy system that was able to sustain my electronic drip irrigation farming venture in the past. Now I am struggling to build Vertical Aquaponics system which is a more efficient sustainable food growing system.

This venture will help me and other economically challenged farmers in my community to get involved in Aquaponic farming as a means of livelihoods.

The first step at this point I will seek finance to build a vertical Aquaponics system. Upon receiving that financing I will prepare specifications and drawings of the system. Then the system would be ordered and installed. Then start producing crop and fish. Finally the system will be monitored and evaluated over a one year period.

I was one of the authors who wrote Grenada Carriacou and petite Martinique Aquaponic Brochure 2014. along with the colzier youth farmers’ co-operative Society LTD During the month of April 2015, I successfully completed an Aquaponics training course with the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Ministry of food production, Agriculture now training unit. I am currently seeking finance to construct a Vertical Aquaponics system.

The measurable success factors to my project are to obtain finance for the project, setup the Aquaponics system, start producing crops and fish, monitor, evaluate and write report. My success will be measured based on what percentage is completed for each task of the project over a one year period.

Project Budget

Line- Items                                                                                         Cost USD                    Time Frame

Vertical Aquaponic system sustained by Renewable energy………$3000.00      Week 1- 8 Shade & Green house for Aquaponics system …………………….. $900.00          Week 1 – 8       Site Preparation …………………………………………………….$450.00                    Week 6 – 8
Shade, greenhouse & Aquaponic system installation ….…………..…$400.00    Week 9-11
Operation Maintenance, Monitoring & evaluation of system……….$250.00      Week 12- 52

Total Cost (USD)………………………………………………….$5000.00

Blogpost and picture submitted by Yacouba Toussaint (Grenada) –ecodelightsgarden[at]

The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.

This post is published as proposal #64 of “YAP” – our “Youth Agripreneur Project”.

The first selection of the winners will be based on the number of comments, likes and views each proposal gets.

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“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.

22 thoughts on “YAP proposal #64: Vertical Aquaponics System (Yacouba Toussaint , Grenada)”

  1. With the right sponsers this project will be really economical to all involved .its about time grenada invested in things that come from the land .farmers work hard and are not able to substain their lively hood as there is lack of investors.keep up the good work grenadians

  2. This is an excellent project which can become big sustainable business. Dynamic Youth of Grenada and CoESL has been trying to help. Anyone else who can please, ensure you do. We must ensure our people are resilient and self-sufficient and they cannot do it alone. There is enough for everyone…no one must be left behind.

  3. This Project is valuable and should be supported as it is scalable from “Backyard” to” Commercial” levels positively impacting National Development.

  4. Sounds like a really great idea and very efficient. I would really like to see this fully implemented!

  5. This project is not only gonna ensure good security but also protect the environment (eco-friendly), ensure re-use of aquaculture waste- thereby reducing pollution- and diversify production earnings. This project can be sustained if properly managed and all logistics worked out

  6. First I must say, what an excellent job in the details of this proposed project…This system should be supported and implemented ASAP.. it will be of great value to all. So inspiring to see our people rising up with such greatness. I do believe with the implementation of this well put together project, it will be a positive and most valuable turning point in agriculture.

  7. Yacouba Tousaint is a very dedicated and hard working person with a persevering spirit. I believe he deserves a chance to make his dream a reality. Why? He possesses an extraordinarily amount of focus in his field of work; he is informed about the advantages/disadvantages… Furthermore, Mr. Toussaint is enhancing his knowledge and capabilities to operate this system efficiently.
    This will be an asset to sustainable agriculture; food/water security, and will contribute to building resilience against climate change in the community…
    I am wishing Yacouba Toussaint all the best with his proposal. #Continue persevering. I am hopeful there’s prospect for success.

  8. This is excellent. Knowing that you received your training and are making use of it is a testament to your determination! I wish you all the best with it!

  9. Great project I fully support abs endorse
    More young farmers can adopt this model in order to feed the future

    All the best on this million dollar industry project

  10. Aquaponics is a very challenging technique, Your efforts are encouraged especially after you were trained in agriculture at the local agriculture school. .Are you going to use the fish? Keep up the effort!

  11. This is a beneficiary project that would have great success behind it once the help it gained. I see this project being executed properly.

    Great presentation and explaination.

  12. Great Project Yacouba! I think this project that can change the face of Agriculture here in Grenada and decrease the unemployment rate in you parish and Grenada as a whole!! You have my full backing.

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