25/06/2018 – The Trinidad Guardian. / An investment opportunity has been afforded to members of Works Credit Union (WCU) through a new initiative, Green Works, which was recently launched at the union’s compound at Orange Hill Road, Spring Garden, Tobago by its president, Fitzroy Ottley, members of the board of directors.
The launch coincided with the commemoration of United Nations World Sustainable Gastronomy Day.
Green Works is an aquaponics initiative, combining aquaculture (raising fish) with hydroponics (soil-less growing of plants) to grow plants and fish together in an integrated system. The waste from the fish provides an organic food source for the plants, while the plants naturally filter the water for the fish.
Ottley said the credit union has long passed the period of simply lending money for houses and cars and is looking ahead to wealth creation for its members.
He described the aquaponics initiative as “a stepping stone towards diversification, in terms of its members, and to provide the members with the opportunity to provide food for themselves.”
Technical support for the project came from Sean McLean and Sean Austin of Seans Rabbitry & Aquaponics Produce based in Wallerfield, Trinidad. McLean said he approached the credit union with the idea of a loan facility for members to become financially secure through aquaponics which morphed into them coming to Tobago to construct the aquaponics centre.
He described the initiative as “visionary and viable for the economy of Tobago, which will help with food security.”
The company will provide consultancy and training to members of the credit union to manage the aquaponics centre which is on 400 square feet and is deemed to be of commercial size, capable of producing 4,000 crops and 4000 fish.
General Manager Karimah Knights said the aquaponics facility was constructed to show its members what the loan product will be about. The product can then be designed to help members do their own system and the WCU will provide the relevant support.
Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Secretary of Food Production, Forestry and Fisheries, Hayden Spencer was in full support of the initiative and said he would like to see similar concepts duplicated across other sectors