African aeroponics towards Middle East

African thinkers to Middle East and China

Using solar technology to power up our vertical aeroponics, which grows fresh crops that are simply beyond organic 

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There might be a perception that exotic items are exploding in the market now...Hydroponic has given dividends. It is a method of growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions in a water solvent. The other methods are Aeroponics and Aquaponics, where plants are grown in a misty environment and excretions of aquatic animals in water respectively

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African entrepeneurs to China and Middle East

The aeroponic system offers time, space and resource saving opportunities and can be easily automated from planting right through to packing.

The ability to create a farm anywhere is a benefit of the system. Farmers producing  lettuces in Senegal lose more than half their crop in the time it takes to transport it to the refrigeration plant. With the aeroponic system, the farm can be built next door to the refrigeration plant. 

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Vertical aeroponic food growing systems 

Jason Hawkins-Row of Aponic describes his invention of a new vertical aeroponic growing system for fruit and vegetables that uses 90% less water than conventional agriculture.

System design

The Aponic design works on an aeroponic principal and comprises a vertical tube with a soft grip strip at the front to hold the stems of the plants in place, while their roots are sprayed intermittently with a nutrient solution inside the tube. A 12 volt pump and a simple control system ensures the delivery of a 10 second spray every twenty minutes. This gives the plants sufficient water and nutrient and also allows the roots to benefit from maximum oxygen uptake. Good airflow around the roots enhances plant growth. Excess spray flows through the tube and is returned to a reservoir to be reused.


UKTI (UK Trade and Investment) invited Aponic to join a World Expo exhibition in 2015, which led to connections with farmers in South Africa and Kenya. There was also interest from projects in Sri Lanka and other dry parts of the world, such as Australia and Spain.

Aponic is working with South African and UK cut flower growers, who like the system because it is frugal with water and soil-less – at present they have to scrape out all the soil from their polytunnels and steam clean it every time they plant to get rid of soil-based pathogens, such as pythium. The aeroponic system offers time, space and resource saving opportunities and can be easily automated from planting right through to packing.

Farm shop systems are springing up where growth is staged in polytunnels with the fully grown out tubes being moved into live displays in the shop. Customers can pick their own fresh herbs, peas and lettuces etc., which eliminates the picking and packing cost, and if the product is not sold, it continues to grow rather than needing to be thrown away. The technology opens up opportunities for ‘pick your own’ vegetables, herbs, fruit and salads.

Another potential business model is the serviced greenhouse, where a farmer can fill a greenhouse with aeroponic tubes and sell growing space by the metre. That way shops, restaurants and food processors can buy growing space and the farmer tends and delivers.

Scientists at NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany), a pioneering plant science organisation based at Cambridge University, are working on a pan- African sustainable intensification of agriculture project in collaboration with Aponic

Circular production

The aeroponic system was originally developed as an aquaponic unit with water taken from a fish pond being pumped through the tubes, which act like bio-digestors, turning the ammonia from the fish waste into nitrate to feed the plants.

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