Empowering Africa's Food Future - How can you be part of the circular path-2

Empowering Africa’s Food Future: How can you be part of the circular path?

In recent years, the agricultural sectors of aquaculture and horticulture in Africa have been actively tapping into the possibilities offered by food innovations. Additionally, circular food systems have gained significant attention for their ability to transform agriculture into a more sustainable direction.

Aquaponics systems are relatively new to African countries, with Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria leading the way. Despite their recent integration and utilization of these technologies, aquaponics offers viable solutions to address food insecurity and insufficient food nutrition. By producing fish and vegetables in a single location, communities have access to locally grown, nutrient-rich food year-round, regardless of limitations such as water scarcity, drought, space, or climate change. Aquaponics, whether implemented commercially or as community interventions, have the potential to enhance local food production capacity and reconnect urban residents with the food production process.

The status of aquaponics in different African sub-regions provides valuable insights for farmers looking to
employ such technologies


In North Africa, where water scarcity is notorious, aquaponics were found to offer greater economic potential compared to traditional agriculture, with fewer negative effects on groundwater resources. In some regions sustainability is taken to a new level, for example in Egypt, where commercial aquaponics units are often combined with greenhouses for enhanced crop production.

In Southern Africa, aquaponics is recognized for its potential to reuse old site locations with low productivity, simultaneously generating new job opportunities in the green sector. Small-scale, self-made units are common in this region allowing farmers to customize their selected technology, with a transition from aquaculture ponds to circular systems being a common shift.

West Africa utilizes decoupled aquaponics systems, where fish and vegetables are cultured separately, allowing more flexibility in customizing system structure and water chemistry before it reaches the plants. The use of locally available materials makes it affordable  for low-income individuals to set up small-scale systems, allowing farmers and growers to seek sustainable solutions more easily.

In East Africa, aquaponics is a relatively new concept, with trials concentrated in Kenya. Subsistence farmers are the primary users, incorporating black soldier fly larvae as fish feed to reduce production costs. In this region, aquaponics systems often integrate solar panels to address electricity scarcity in rural areas.

The article from Wikifarmer also gives interesting insights into the type of crops and fish grown through the African sub-regions. Additionally, the article highlights that the two most favourable aquaponics types for Africa include the DWC (Deep Water Culture) and media bed, of which both can be used for small-scale and commercial purposes. When compared, the media bed system is simpler in design and good for beginners while allowing all types of plants to be grown; while the DWC units are more cost-effective than most media beds on a larger scale. Of course, this is not the only comparison made of the two systems, there are labor perspectives to consider, filtration methods and even the weight of the overall unit.

Comments are closed.