In the Educational Unit Sibambe, Alausí, teachers and students bet on an innovative system of planting vegetables and growing fish. Feeding tilapia specimens and verifying advances in vegetable crops, among other tasks, are part of the tasks of high school students in the Sibambe Educational Unit, Alausí canton, Chimborazo province.
The name of this establishment is of Quichua origin, and it means “river that runs from the neck of the mountain”. There, both students and teachers bet on an aquaponic project for raising tilapia and growing vegetables. Aquaponics is an innovative system of sustainable production of fish and plants, which allows 100% waste from both activities to be used to strengthen each other.
Silvia Espinoza, teacher of the agricultural education area of the Sibambe Educational Unit, explained the importance of this initiative for the integral development of the students at 2,461 meters of altitude.
“The temperature in the community oscillates between 12 and 20 degrees, and the height is 2,461 meters. The advantages of aquaponics enhance fish farming and agriculture, and their daily practice on the campus allows young people to learn this innovative technique that saves water and other valuable resources. “In addition, the teacher relied on the environmentally friendly methods that apply in both activities. “Thanks to the symbiosis between plant and animal species, there is no need for chemical products; that is why the health of plants and fish is optimal, “added Espinoza.
The term aquaponics mixes the words ‘aquaculture’, which is the production of aquatic organisms, and ‘hydroponics’, which refers to the cultivation of plants on water. During the growth of seedlings, plant material rich in nutrients is produced, which serves as food for aquatic organisms and helps to create an optimal environment for their development. Once the fish have processed their food, they segregate beneficial components for agricultural activity.
Beginning of the project
The project began in September of last year with just 46 tilapias in a pond of 2.6 meters, which was built by students and teachers. Later, an oxygen pump was adapted to the pool, similar to a large-scale fish tank.
The water coming from the pond, enriched with various nutrients, irrigates every day the plantations of vegetables such as chard, cabbage, broccoli and lettuce. Students check the crops twice a day. “In addition they are dedicated to the breeding of poultry, guinea pigs, rabbits, cattle and pigs. The practice provides a substantial improvement in the education of high school students, “said Teresa Calero, vice chancellor of the campus.
There, 492 young people are educated as a result of the merger of 17 educational units of Bayanag, Cushcum, Chilcapamba, San Miguel Loma, Cotoyaco, Chinipata, among other communities. (I)