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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '11, 05:01 
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We were watching the terrible news about the famine on the horn of Africa when my wife - who puts up with my incessant banter about Aquaponics- says "Wouldn't Aquaponics solve this crisis?)

Well that shut me up. I didn't really know what to say.

Could it be possible to set up AP systems to work in such harsh conditions and teach the people how to maintain them?

Give a man a fish etc etc


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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '11, 05:13 
aman wrote:
We were watching the terrible news about the famine on the horn of Africa when my wife - who puts up with my incessant banter about Aquaponics- says "Wouldn't Aquaponics solve this crisis?)


No..

Most of their diet consists of grains... the area required to produce enough grains to solve the famine is beyond even raft style aquaponics...

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Could it be possible to set up AP systems to work in such harsh conditions and teach the people how to maintain them?


Yes, and maybe...

But there's the issue of a relaible power supply... and availability of water..


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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '11, 05:42 
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Famine is a distribution problem, not a production problem. There is plenty of food in the world but due to barriers, corruption, disinterest, special interests, and outright malice these conditions will persist. Fix the governments and geopolitical issues and you won't have famines.

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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '11, 05:46 
Sadly, the politics of self interest.. resource ownership... and global strategic chess.. will prevent that from happening DD


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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '11, 13:25 
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I'm asked questions like this fairly regularly and generally my answer is along the lines of "First world technologies are rarely the answer to third world problems".

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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '11, 17:06 
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earthbound wrote:
"First world technologies are rarely the answer to third world problems".


No, they are normally the cause of them sadly


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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '11, 17:19 
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It wouldn't solve the problem. No. But it could do something to help. I noticed that staples are at a 240% inflation high. So the basics are two and a half times their normal price. They are also seeing widespread diseases...terrible.

I wish that aquaponics or some combination of organic gardening and water conservation, etc. would help these people, and I wish that it was cheap, available, and easily shipped along with volunteers...I might go!

I would prefer not to go to Somalia, but rather the Kenya side of the situation...I think.

that's my two cents,

jeff c

P.S. I think solar energy would be abundant in that area, plus human/animal power could go a long way towards bridging the expense of energy gap.

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PostPosted: Jul 21st, '11, 19:51 
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There are plenty of techniques that can be used in that environment. For example: http://www.sendacow.org.uk/keyhole-gardens/

The biggest issues are governments who ignore the needs of the population ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11991926 ) or a lack of education. More often than not it's a combination of both.

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PostPosted: Jul 22nd, '11, 10:15 
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This caught my eye after saying what I did above:
http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/201 ... world.html

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PostPosted: Jul 22nd, '11, 12:09 
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Interesting read... 30% of income on food, and then in hard times up to 80% of income on food? Wow.... I do wonder when I hear people in Australia complaining about the cost of food, bugger that, you can buy a loaf of bread for $1 today, 20 years ago you could buy a loaf of bread for $1.. :dontknow:

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PostPosted: Jul 22nd, '11, 13:29 
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Get plenty of sticker shock here in the U.S. but I count my blessings.

It's pretty sad when food is exported from countries where people are starving because they can get a higher price overseas. If we don't have enough food for everyone, it's not because of a shortage of land or technology. Some of it is still stupidity and greed, like the corn alcohol production which raised the price of corn and made less available for export as food.


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PostPosted: Sep 17th, '11, 14:17 
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When I see something like the “Greening the Desert” project in Jordan:

http://permaculture.org.au/2007/03/01/g ... n-youtube/

I can’t see why we couldn’t integrate an aquaponics system into that kind of project in most third world contexts where it would have some very productive synergies with other elements of the permaculture design (with Permaculture Zones 3 and 4 providing the staples). And between them I think aquaponics and permaculture (and/or other organic food production systems) could provide all the food needs for human populations. The problem, as I see it, is not the harsh environment, nor any high tech or infrastructure needs of aquaponics: The problem is whether these societies have a capacity to organise themselves for the common good and whether they can be convinced to consider these kinds of alternatives.

Pretty soon the combined effects of runaway population growth, continuous GDP growth, resource depletion, pollution, and biodiversity loss, will catch up with us and then the world’s famines will not just be due to the usual mess of war, politics, etc.: When this day arrives famines will increasing be due to a shortage of food. The business as usual "plan" (if you could call it that) is to prevent famine by maximizing food production via the techniques of globalized mainstream agribusiness.

Personally, I’d rather be trying to prevent famines with aquaponics/permaculture/other organic systems than with mainstream food production systems that are less energy efficient, less water efficient, more polluting and are entirely dependent upon external inputs that are set to become unaffordable when peak oil drives up the price of energy. Even today, for poorer countries, many of these inputs are so expensive they might as well not exist. They are/we are going to need some alternative so I reckon aquaponics needs to be in the mix.

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PostPosted: Sep 18th, '11, 08:12 
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There was a typo in what I said above (corrected as below):

"...When this day arrives famines will increasingly be due to a shortage of food..."

To give an example of what I meant by "other organic systems" often this means simply refraining from stuffing up what is there already and is in danger of being lost due to globalization, inappropriate technologies etc. A really interesting short film that demonstrates this is:

http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documen ... of-the-DDS

the overall developmental framework for the program shown in the film is detailed here:

http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/14556IIED.pdf

and the stuff up that is BT cotton is documented here (as an example of what the agribusiness alternative offers):

http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documen ... Year-Fraud

The films come from the Deccan Development Society, which is an Indian NGO that has been working with communities for many decades. Since the mid-eighties they have been applying permaculture design principles in much of their work. They always did this in a way that engaged the existing knowledge of local communities and so these communities create their own systems that they best understand and that serve their needs. I think aquaponics could often be part of that mix--provided it is relevant to community needs.

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PostPosted: Sep 18th, '11, 11:14 
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Thanks Fishtopia, the Onwards to Food Sovereignty http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documen ... of-the-DDS film was very interesting, haven't watched the other one yet..

A classic example of how often when people try to help others they can be causing a lot more problems than what might be initially obvious.

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PostPosted: Sep 18th, '11, 12:39 
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That cotton one was also very interesting... So some were getting 1800kg of cotton per acre originally, swap to the higher priced GM BT cotton which was supposed to have higher yields and not require spraying for caterpillars. Spraying was then down by about 7%, a little bit, but yields were down to 100kg per acre... From 1800kg to 100kg for some farmers??

Some very angry Indian farmers there...

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