Presentation of Swiss Research Partnership Projects
Swiss Universities for Applied Sciences and Swisscontact
A development promotion program backed by SDC
Construction and monitoring of a model aquaponic system at the agricultural school Pusat Pendidikan Lingkungan Hidup (PPLH) Bohorok in Sumatra (Indonesia)
Summary of Project /
The aquaponic system was built as planned in 2006 by the Indonesian partner. In 2007 two ZHAW students conducted a
three months research project at PPLH. They compared biomass of vegetables grown in the aquaponic system with
plants grown on land. In addition, they designed a different aquaponic system by building rafts out of bamboo and PET-
bottles on which they grew different vegetables. In a third experiment, they compared the growth rate of two different
fish species with one group of each species being fed commercial food (pellets) and the other organic plant material.
This research was written up in a bachelor thesis.
Currently, three Indonesian students from the Universitas Islam Sumatera Utara (UISU) are conducting their thesis research at PPLH. These students test the fertilizing effect of water from the aquaponic system on vegetables and compare insect species (assumed pests) composition on the aquaponic islands with species composition on traditional vegetable plots. All students have and will receive great support from the local partner Ms. Yenni and the local staff, who assist the students whenever they can.
The main goal of this project was to build a simple aquaponic
system (a closed system aquaculture in which plants absorb
nutrients from the water) that could easily and affordably be built by farmers.
Results Expected vs.
Results Achieved by Swiss Technical University and by Partner
An aquaponic system was built and vegetables planted in this system grew just as well as on land. However, nutrient
accumulation in the water was very low because the fish pond had to be maintained as a flow-through instead of closed water system.
An unexpected result was that the work of the two ZHAW students motivated the PPLH staff and spurred interest in
organic farming in the local community.
Validation of Results by
Swiss Technical University and by Partner
The results provide a solid foundation for future research. We can conclude that aquaponic works in Sumatra but to be
sustainable the system needs further improvement. Future research should last for more than three months and be
conducted with better technical equipment than was possible within this project.
Sustainability / Outlook
Future collaboration is strongly desired by YEL and ZHAW. Therefore, Dr. Schlosser is organizing a short information
workshop for other ZHAW members to inform them of the research potential at PPLH. She has already informed the
students of the possibility of a three months internship at PPLH during their 5th or 6th semester through the ZHAW EZA
(development cooperation) program. - the ZHAW and YEL will attempt to work out a MOU with the Universitas Islam Sumatera Utara (UISU) which will allow international visitors to conduct research for more than six months. - Dr. Schlosser is investigating the possibility for a student exchange program between the ZHAW and the UISU
July 2006 - April 2008
Dr. Jacqueline Schlosser
Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)
PO Box 1472 Medan 20000
Jl. K.H. Wahid Hasyim No. 51/74
Stiftung für nachhaltige Entwicklung und interkultureller
8415 Berg am Irchel