Two young French men have founded a business that they hope will be producing 20 tons of prawns and 40 tons of vegetables by next year – side by side.
The saltwater aquaponics employed uses the waste from the Crustaceans as fertiliser for the cherry tomatoes and aromatic herbs that agricultural engineers Romain Vandame and Jérémie Gognard plan to grow.
The company, named Agriloops, is the first of its kind established in Europe.
The 20-year-old graduates from Rennes’ Agrocampus Ouest told EURACTIV France the system had been around for years but not used commercially.
“We went into different specialisations. Romain opted for aquaculture and seafood products, and I chose plant production and protection,” said Jérémie.
“Aquaponics has been developed for years, but not for production purposes. To be profitable, we needed to find a species with high added value, preferably marine. And therefore develop a saltwater system,” he added.
The French consume nearly 120,000 tons of shrimp per year, most of it imported from Ecuador, India and Madagascar.
Agriloops intends offering French consumers a home-grown alternative that it claims will be more environmentally friendly alternative.