Examples of Smart Farming Applications from Romania

The first Aquaponics publication in Romania was created in September 2015, being launched by the Research - Development Institute for the Valorization and Marketing of Horticultural Products - HORTING, inside the Aqua-Rom project, mentioned above. The scientific publication addresses and provides the support of specialized knowledge to all those who want to implement aquaponics systems in Romania. Also in this magazine you can find practical information on how to design, build and operate different aquaponics systems or what are the costs and benefits of such technology, but also answers to various questions. As the products obtained from aquaponics systems have similar qualities to organic products, but are not yet accredited, the Hortig National Center (Institute of Research and Development for Industrialization and Marketing of Horticultural Products) have the ambition and initiated actions to integrate aquaponics products within the marketing chain and public catering structures. Institute’s mission is to conduct the scientific research activities (basic and applied), innovation in the processing and storage of vegetables and fruits, vegetables culture in greenhouses and horticultural products marketing. Also, the institute develops the design technologies for processing, storage of horticultural products, production of crops in protected areas, technical assistance and installation projects for machinery and technical equipment, for investments in competence domain. All these activities are conducted in the context of Romania's policies within the horticulture’s field, harmonized with the European Union policies.

Horting’s activities have the following objectives: 

  • Research and development of processes and culture technologies for aquaponics field; Technological transfer and technical assistance given to producers and processors from the horticultural field;

 - Research and development processes, preparation and storage technologies on long and short term of fresh vegetables and fruits; 

  • Research and development processes and processing technologies of horticultural products (canned products, jams, juices and soft drinks, dehydrated and frozen products);

-Research and development processes and technologies for obtaining the grafted seedlings of melons, eggplants, tomatoes, peppers and culture technologies of this in protected area and field. 

In Romania, systematic research in the field of aquaponic and hydroponics was approached by a consortium of I.C.D.I.M.P.H. Horting Bucharest, I.C.D.E.A.P.A Galati, Ecological Society Aquaterra and Kaviar House, coordinated as project manager by I.C.D.I.M.P.H. Horting, with the launch of the sectoral program for agriculture, in 2006. Within these researches, the first pilot station in Romania was built, located inside the research greenhouses from I.C.D.I.M.P.H. Horting Bucharest.

The first website http://aqua-ponics.ro/ was created, which aims to be a way to promote Romanian achievements in the field of aquaponics and, through the blog, a place where beginners, specialists, practitioners and theorists involved in this field to meet to exchange opinions, to present their achievements or to request and receive specialized consultancy.

Within the project "Implementation of aquaponics technology in Romania, to increase incomes and improve health in disadvantaged areas -" Aqua-Rom, a Guide for Aquaponist farmers from Romania was made, called "Aquaponics for beginners". This guide can be studied online by those interested in aquaponics and hydroponics at the following address: https://en.calameo.com/read/004572728f7ca21910b48

Also within the "Aqua-Rom" project, an e-learning platform was launched, which contains an aquaponics course for beginners consisting of 10 video-animated lessons, which can be found at the following address: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCTwYUonZI08CRy46mEwRTNUWPJORe 2E-

Achievements in Romania:

➢ Horting geodesic greenhouse-The geodetic form (hemisphere) is, from a constructive point of view, the lightest, most solid and cheapest structure that can be made. It covers large spaces without any interior support. It resists wind very well and does not reflect incident solar radiation. Having the smallest surface in contact with the external environment, compared to other geometric shapes that close the same volume, the heat losses, which are proportional to the heat transfer surface, are smaller. The geodetic form (hemisphere) is, from a constructive point of view, the lightest, most solid and cheapest structure that can be made. It covers large spaces without any interior support. It resists wind very well and does not reflect incident solar radiation.

At the Horting Institute, several small and medium capacity aquaponics systems have been developed for demonstration purposes.

Micro systems - For those who want to test the aquaponics method, several systems have been created that must be placed in well-lit areas of the house or in a “hobby” greenhouse. The capacity of these systems can vary from 2-3 liters of water up to 150 - 200 l. The systems can be populated with decorative or ‘edible’ fish. Given the lighting conditions in a house, it is recommended to grow plants whose light requirements are moderate. Three such systems were developed by engineer Cristian Bulbuc and presented at scientific events of ICDIMPH Horting.

The first aquaponics system in Romania is set at the Research and Development Station for Aquaculture and Aquatic Ecology in Iași Researchers from the Development Research Station for Aquaculture and Aquatic Ecology in Iași (SCDAEA) of Alexandru Ioan Cuza University have developed an aquaponics mini-system. It is of the floating shelf / floating shelves type and consists of a cork (shelf) made of PVC tubes and baskets filled with bioballs that have the role of supporting plant roots but also for the development of nitrifying bacteria communities.

The realization of an aquaponics system at the resort has a special importance both from a scientific point of view and as a didactic material, this being a component part of the research directions from SCDAEA. The resort is located in Iasi, on the Iasi-Ciurea Road km 5 and has in its composition a hall of 2200 m2, which includes two recirculation systems for fish farming and a flow-through breeding system, a breeding station and a station to make forages micro FNC consisting of mill, extruder and granulator. Also, the resort has 8 land basins with a total area of 5.9 ha. In the biobase of the resort there are breeders of local carp breeds (Podu Iloaiei, Frăsinet, Ineu). Three species of sturgeon are also raised and preserved: sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus), Russian sturgeon- Danube sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) and Great sturgeon (Huso huso). These species are important both economically and for biodiversity conservation because they are endangered species and are protected internationally by the CITES Convention. The resort also has a lot of Japanese carp (Cyprinus carpio var. Koi), which has an ornamental importance due to its special color. The resort carries out both research activities and an active collaboration with farmers and the most important association, ROMFISH, by producing redeveloped carp chickens but also scientific advisory services on feed and water quality.

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