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Japan: ‘Aquaponic farming is picking up domestically’

“There is tremendous potential for vertical farming in Japan, especially in the urban areas. Not just to reduce the food mileage or the high land efficiency but as well for utilizing waste heat from factories or emissions from commercial buildings. These have great synergy potential,” says Kengo Hamada, Founder and CEO of Aquponi Inc., a Japanese supplier of aquaponic farms and materials.

Kengo Hamada

According to Kengo, the rising popularity of aquaponics is thanks to the emphasis on Sustainable Development Goals in Japan. It has definitely made people more concerned about the sustainability of food production.

Kengo started his aquaponics journey by experimenting with various DIY systems as he was deeply impressed by combining the productivity of farming with environmental friendliness. Therefore, He decided to commercialize his aquaponic systems and findings to eventually spread it throughout Japan.

Demonstration farms
Aquponi has two aquaponic farms that are used for experiments and showcases. The hybrid setup makes use of a greenhouse setup which is both vertical and indoor. One farm is 130m2, and another is 500m2, where leafy greens, herbs, strawberries, and grapes are cultivated aquaponically.

The Shonan Aquponi Farm is a test site in Yokohama, Japan, that is experimenting with carp, goldfish, sturgeon, tilapia, and long-tailed prawns combined with a trial of lettuce and herbs.

The different farm sizes Aquponi offers

“I truly like aquaponics as, compared to separated systems, aquaculture requires only half of the energy and fertilizer, which means less carbon emission, roughly saving on 70% of green gas.”

Aquponi now conducts various R&D projects, as well as building aquaponic farms and providing training for aquaponic cultivation through their in-person Aquaponics Academy and online courses. Aquponi supplies three different aquaponic setups when it comes to commercial farming, a 5m2 farm, a 30m2 farm, or a 100m2 farm.

Focus on strawberries
For now, the company is focusing on growing strawberries and improving the growth recipes. Yet, once they succeed in doing so, they have big expansion plans. “We’re building more aquaponics sites for clients throughout the country. Soon, we may develop our first farm outside Japan.” All Aquponi's products, including its clients, are sold domestically.

Currently, the company is building a new farm in the Aichi prefecture for a client. The size is roughly about 900m2, and capable of growing 20,000 plants with 1,000 tilapia. According to Kengo, the biggest aquaponic farm known in Japan is at the Gifu-prefecture, and the size is approximately 3,000 square meters, constructed by Aquponi.

For more information:
Kengo Hamada, Founder and CEO
Aquponi Inc.
Tel.: +81 (0)50 5539 1923