GFAR blog

YAP proposal #279: Realizing the Dream of Aquaponics (Randy Anthony Belgrave, Barbados)


A_drawing_exampleI always had a love for agriculture, as young as five years I had some rabbits and a few crops. From then I planted crops over the years till 2011, when I tried to raise some chickens. My name is Randy Anthony Belgrave. I am 35 and I from Barbados.

In July 2015 I joined the Youth Agri-Entrepreneurship Incubator Programme (YAIP), put on by the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries and Water Resource Management.

Then, I had a basic idea of farming. The YAIP has increased my knowledge at so many levels, especially in area on organic farming and organic pesticides. During my time as a participant, I focused on the science and technology, organic farming, research methods, business, marketing, and accounting.

This help me to see agriculture more as agri-business and changed my mindset from just seeing it as a hoe and fork, hot sun job.

As a young agriculturalist, I am more inclined towards the application of scientific principles, modern techniques and innovative technologies, to the development of commercially viable solutions to complex problems that would transform agriculture into a more competitive sector.

From participating in the programme, I gain mentors and connections from networking with the facilitators and other interesting person I have met.

I have evolved from this programme and now, as an Ambassador, I will continue developing by working with others.

Stemming from the programme, I was fortunate enough to attend conferences and workshops, such as the 2015 Annual Caribbean Sustainable Livelihoods and Youth Entrepreneurship Conference, which was held in Grenada.

While attending the conference, session such as the mentoring, think tank and panel discussions, helped deepen by love for agriculture and explore my ideas and dreams with more determination, and I was also named Peace Ambassador.

Another workshop I had the pleasure to attend was CTA: Caribbean Pacific Agri-Food Forum and BRIDGE SEED Entrepreneurship Training Workshop.

Aquaponics Farming and Systems

My plan as a crop farmer is to change the way I currently grow my produce, from a soil to water.

An_exampleDuring the programme I visited an aquaponics Farm where I have developed a passion for this type of farming. After doing my own research outside the classroom, aquaponics farming uses a tenth of water compared to traditional farming and seeing that climate change is huge problem globally, water harvesting management is critically in this time.

Here, in Barbados, we have our share of water issue and the aquaponics farming provides the opportunity to grow above ground, which maximizes space, as well as saves water.

I will like to design small backyard aquaponics system, which will be for families, or individuals who live in areas with limited space like rural developments and high rising apartments and also to engage children in agriculture.

Over the years I have always seen children love for fish and I know this type of farming technique will get them very interested in farming and this is needed now more than ever.

For the last ten years rainfall has decreased, as I mention before that an aquaponics system use less of the water than in traditional farming.

The USD 5,000 would go to building ten mini backyard aquaponics system in the next four month with estimated cost of USD 500 per system. Below is list of materials needed to get me started:

  • 10 Full Length 2″ inch pipe
  • 10 Full Length ½ inch pipe
  • 5 big bottles of plumbers cement (aquarium safe PVC cement)
  • 5 big bottles of plumbers cleaner (aquarium safe PVC cleaner)
  • 2 knives or hacksaw for cutting PCV pipe
  • 80 elbows and bends (2″ inch and ½ ” inch)
  • 1 full kit electrical drill
  • 10 plastic containers 22″ × 15″ (holds 55 litres of water)
  • 10 aquarium water and air pumps

In conclusion, your help will bring my business ideas closer to reality and bring agriculture to the forefront of entrepreneurship. Taking this exciting opportunity would lead to unlimited economic growth, strengthening our food security and address some health issue.


Blogpost and picture submitted by Randy Anthony Belgrave (Barbados): belgraverandy[at]

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


This post is published as proposal #279 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.

As a reader, you can support this speaker’s entry:

  • Leave a comment (question, suggestion,..) on this project in the comment field at the bottom of this page
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  • Spread this post via your social media channels, using the hashtag: #GCARD3


Have a look at the other “YAP” proposals too!

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Check out the side column for our current sponsors.
“YAP” is part of the #GCARD3 process, the third Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development.

54 thoughts on “YAP proposal #279: Realizing the Dream of Aquaponics (Randy Anthony Belgrave, Barbados)”

  1. Very much interesting and innovative! this would probably contribute towards solving food security in your country i believe and further, it would encourage young people to join agriculture at a tender age. Nice

  2. I like your concept, do you think this will help with the water problems Barbados is currently experiencing?

    1. With an aquaponics system a person will use one tenth of the water used than when farming in the soil so it will save alot of water. Climate change is one the reason for some water problems in Barbados with the lack of rainfall. I strongly believe using aquaponics system will save water in Barbados and the whole world so yes it will help.

  3. Aquaponics is definitely a useful technique that we in the Caribbean should consider in light of our water issues. I’d like to see some more research go into this area to see how far we can take it.

    1. I would like to see the technique implemented so that the research done can be place in a data base. Also hands on training can be given to interested persons as farming is much more innovative with the use of science and technology in this time.

  4. Wow…this is a nice idea. Children need to be more involved in agriculture and this should sure catch their interest.

    1. That’s so true children and young people have been staying away from agriculture for many reasons. Aquaponics is an innovative way to grow crops and also can be seen as a way to have a fish farm. Thanks for your support.

  5. Aquaponics is much needed to address the challenges of having a sustainable agriculture sector.

  6. This is a good initiative, all the best to you. You should look at expanding to other Caribbean islands as well.

    1. I definitely intend to do that in the near future. As soon as I return fron South Africa I will work on a proposal to explore expanding though the Caribbean. Thanks for your support

  7. Way to go randy i wish you well in your endevour. Our young people really needs this kind of encouragement. Best of luck to you.

    1. Thanks to CoESL for helping me in many ways but the one way I will always have in mind is to change the mindset. Great people are on your team and to Mrs. Brandon I have great respect for you and the work you have done and continue to do. Much appreciated and thanks for your support.

  8. Randy !! An impressive concept which will reduce the grocery bill for the household as well as the importation bill (X-M). This means a more balanced “Balance of Payments”.

  9. This is a brilliant idea Randy. Very innovative proposal. Can see this in all our schools and homes. I wish you all the best as you continue to reach your dreams. All the best to you.

  10. I really wish you much success in attain sponsorship for your project, I too would like one of those systems in my backyard so I will be contacting you for one of the systems. Q: WHAT TYPES OF PLANTS CAN BE GROWN WITH THE SYSTEM. GOOD LUCK.

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