To address challenges of unsustainable harvesting of natural resources and water-source encroachment, UNDP Tanzania supported the establishment of demonstration sites on aquaponics and hydroponics, a learning visit to Kenya for key stakeholders and training of champion farmers with the aim of introducing the technology in Tanzania. Based on the shared Lake Victoria ecosystems, the advanced experience in Kenya provided rich lessons and insights to the prospecting fish farmers in Tanzania.
Tanzania's fast-growing population of 50 million (including 1.3 million living on Zanzibar) is highly dependent on the environment and natural resources for its livelihood. Especially in rural areas alarming levels of food insecurity persist. Unsustainable harvesting of natural resources, water-source encroachment and unchecked cultivation, coupled with the increasing impact of climate change, pose challenges to maintaining previous achievements and for reaching the SDGs.
Especially in Lake Victoria, decades of overfishing and illegal fishing activities have left the previously extremely rich fish population depleted, degraded fish breeding habitats and diminished the complex biodiversity of the lake, therefore threatening livelihoods of millions of families who depend on the lake for their living. In addition, fish farming has traditionally been a male dominated occupation and women are often excluded from the fishing value chains.
As part of a poverty-environment-gender mainstreaming initiative, UNDP Tanzania facilitated a study tour in 2015 to Kenya, a pioneer in aquaponics and hydroponics technology across East Africa.
10 key stakeholders (2 women and 8 men), including farmers, district officials, and representatives from the National Service, the private sector, and research institutions participated in the tour in order to learn from Kenyan farmers and livestock keepers about the hydroponic fodder technology with the aim of introducing the technology in Tanzania.
Upon their return, 31 additional farmers (10 women and 21 men) in the Lake Zone were trained on aquaponics and three demonstration sites were established in the Coast Region as well as Bunda and Bukoba Rural districts around the technology of aquaponics. These demonstration sites are used for on-site learning as other farmers in the districts come to learn about the new technologies, which will allow the production of fish and fodder in a circular system that uses 90% less water than conventional agriculture.
The technology has been localized to suit the local situation. For example, the locally adapted systems are not automated and do not depend on electricity and the temperature and humidity inside the hydroponic fodder system are controlled using only a hydro-net and a hydro-cloth, to ensure higher growth and the best nutritional value possible.
The private sector has also shown interest to adopt the technology. Milkcom Farms, the producer of Dar Fresh products has installed the hydroponic fodder system at their factory at Kigamboni in Dar es Salaam.
Provider country: Kenya
Supported by: UNDP
National Service and local champion farmers with support from Economic and Social Research Foundation
Smart Farming: Living Labs
Mr. Ambrose Mugisha
Ms. Kristina Weibel