Aquaponics system sales boom, amid COVID pandemic

Taiwanese furniture brand Lagoon started to commercialize its aquaponics systems in 2020.

The system includes a fish tank, boxes to grow plants and a water cleaning section.

Plants are nourished by water coming through the fish tank. The water is considered nutritious to the plants due to the fish excrement in it.

Lagoon representative Peng Wei says the pandemic has led to a boost in interest for their aquaponics systems.

Taiwan had been mostly free of COVID-19.

But since May, it has been facing its worst outbreak since the beginning of the pandemic, regularly registering between 60,000 and 80,000 confirmed cases per-day.

"People are spending less time outdoors and are staying in their home longer," says Wei.

"They do worry about their food safety and the origin of their food, but they also want to have something fun to do at home. So, having some greenery at home is a pleasant thing. Very positive. Then, this system can grow may kinds of plants."

Wendy Hsu, a 52-year-old Taipei resident, comes to a Lagoon store to pick up her delivery of new plants.

"I can tell that all the plants are looking quite good, they are beautiful. I should be able to grow them quickly," she says.

"During this pandemic, I don't want to visit the market too often. I think it's safer to grow vegetables at home."

Dr. Hunter Wu, an assistant professor at Hungkuo Delin University of Technology's Department of Horticulture, says there are benefits to aquaponics.

"If one uses aquaponics, everything we see is organic, such as fish excrements. So, there won't be chemical fertilizers left in our body," he says.

Lagoon's aquaponic systems come in all shapes and sizes.

The largest one is about 170cm tall and a meter wide, while the smallest is about 30cm tall and 50cm wide.

Systems can fit in a living room or on balcony for household use, or in a classroom for school children to feed fish and watch salad grow.

Owners have been known to grow various salads, depending on their preference, and some herbs, including rosemary.

Lagoon representative Peng says there's an educational element too.

"Family members are seeing each other even more often during this pandemic (during quarantine)," she says.

"And watching the plants grow and the fish swim, this could be educating and increase interaction among family members."  

*Source:AP Archive