A techno-economic feasibility study into aquaponics in South Africa

Lapere, Philippe (Stellenbosch : University of Stellenbosch, 2010-12)

Thesis (MScEng (Industrial Engineering))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study is to investigate the techno-economic feasibility of operating an aquaponics farm in South Africa. Aquaculture is the fastest-growing type of food production in the world, yet South Africa is lagging behind international efforts to boost the industry. An independent academic feasibility study on small scale aquaponics farms in South Africa has not been performed before, causing current and prospective farmers to be uncertain about the prospects of the venture. The study is approached by investigating the aquaculture and aquaponics industry and gathering the relevant information. By investigating other models used to represent aquaculture or aquaponics systems, the required information is gathered in order to build a unique model for the purpose of determining the feasibility of the case study farms. The model is modified to represent each of the case study farms. The results show that the majority of the farms are not economically viable. A sensitivity analysis provides some insight on how varying certain parameters can affect the performance of the systems. Using the information gathered in the case studies and research, a near-ideal system is specified in order to establish whether this improved system can be viable whilst taking into account the constraints placed upon aquaponics ventures in South Africa. The study suggests some recommendations for current and prospective farmers that might improve their chances of succeeding with an aquaponics venture. The study finds that currently aquaponics in South Africa is hindered by a number of constraints that result in it being a high-risk venture with meagre returns on investment. However, the study shows that if an aquaponics system were designed, built and managed correctly, it could theoretically be an economically viable venture. The investigation has, in a logical method, provided insight into the viability of operating an aquaponics farm in South Africa.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die doel van hierdie studie is om die lewensvatbaarheid van akwaponika in Suid-Afrika te ondersoek. Akwakultuur is die tipe voedselproduksie wat die vinnigste groei in die wêreld, maar Suid-Afrika hou nie tred met die internasionale poging om akwakultuur te ontwikkel nie. „n Onafhanklike lewensvatbaarheid studie oor kleinskaal akwaponika plase in Suid-Afrika is nog nooit onderneem nie. Dit veroorsaak dat huidige en voornemende akwaponika boere onseker is oor die uitkomste van hulle ondernemings. Die studie is benader deur die akwaponika en akwakultuur bedrywe te ondersoek, en die relevante inligting te versamel. Deur ander modelle wat gebruik word om akwakultuur en akwaponika sisteme te verteenwoordig te ondersoek, is die nodige inligting versamel om „n unieke model te bou wat gebruik word om die lewensvatbaarheid van die gevallestudies te bepaal. Die model is aangepas om elkeen van die gevallestudies te verteenwoordig. Die resultate wys dat die meerderheid van die gevallestudie plase nie ekonomies lewensvatbaar is nie. „n Sensitiwiteitsanaliese gee insig oor hoe spesifieke parameters die prestasie van die sisteme affekteer. Deur die inligting wat versamel is tydens die gevallestudies en navorsing te gebruik, kan „n sisteem gespesifiseer word om te bevestig of hierdie verbeterde sisteem lewensvatbaar kan wees terwyl dit die beperkings waaronder akwaponika sisteme in Suid Afrika geplaas word in ag neem. Die studie verskaf „n paar aanbevelings vir huidige en voornemende boere. Hierdie aanbevelings kan die kanse van sukses van die ondernemings verbeter. Die studie het gevind dat akwaponika in Suid-Afrika deur „n aantal beperkings benadeel word, wat lei tot „n situasie waar dit „n hoë-risiko onderneming is, met lae opbrengste op die belegging. Maar, die studie wys ook dat as „n sisteem korrek ontwerp, bou en bestuur word, dit teoreties „n ekonomies lewensvatbare onderneming kan wees. Die studie het op „n logiese wyse insig gegee oor die haalbaarheid van akwaponika in Suid-Afrika.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5400
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