The aquaculture industry in Kenya benefits from international knowledge transfer through the first regional Aquaculture Academy
Fish farming has the potential to sustainably bridge the rapidly growing gap between protein demand and supply. The key factor holding back the sector’s development in the African context is the lack of skilled human capital. The first regional Aquaculture Academy based in Kenya provides essential tools for East African (future) fish farmers: practical, accessible and business-oriented training programs covering all essential aspects of aquaculture production.
The Aquaculture Academy is founded by some of the partners of the FoodTechAfrica consortium. With over eight years of experience in the East African aquaculture sector, the consortium partners have witnessed the lack of practical skills as impeding profitable and sustainable aquaculture farming in East Africa. The Aquaculture Academy trains and builds ‘aquapreneurs’ who are able to run a sustainable and profitable business, inspire others to become fish farmers and spur economic prosperity throughout the sector.
Aquaculture has the potential to contribute to development, but only if done sustainably and through collaboration with all stakeholders in the region. The Aquaculture Academy aims to sustainably transform East-African aquaculture, improving the lives of millions in the region. The Aquaculture Academy contributes to SDGs 2, 4, 5, 6, 9, 12 and 17 (see appendix below for more information).
On the 7th of May, 2021, the Aquaculture Academy was launched with the support of the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and the Netherlands Embassy in Nairobi. The academy is now open in two campuses (Homabay and Machakos county), with basic, advanced, online, and even mobile courses.
The Best Farmer Competition
To maximize the impact of the opening of the Aquaculture Academy, the Best Farmer Competition was organized in May 2021 to find the most inspiring stories and innovative fish farmers. Leading up to the launch of the Aquaculture Academy, more than 80 farmers and students applied for the Best Farmer Competition. You can watch the videos of the three finalists here:
- 1st Prize Winner - George Muga #BestFarmersChallenge - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_6oZ3Xhld0)
- 2nd Prize Winner - Faith Elly #BestFarmersChallenge - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NQzbtOY4X6U&t=2s)
- 3rd Prize Winner - Fred Okinda #BestFarmersChallenge - YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pq4erb7D2Rg)
Combining physical and digital education
East Africa as a region is rapidly digitizing. With its young and dynamic demographic and mobile penetration of over 90%, especially Kenya is leading the adoption of digital technology in Africa. This offers significant opportunities to share knowledge and reach farmers, in aquaculture and other agricultural sectors.
To increase the reach of the Academy, and to provide access to knowledge to the entire sector and beyond, FoodTechAfrica has also developed an extensive digital curriculum together with the Blue Planet Academy. The digital courses provide videos covering all aspects of fish farming in East Africa.
“Free online learning tools - All e-learning videos are available to watch for free in the Blue Planet Academy Wiki, with certified courses available upon request. The digital curriculum can be accessed through the following link: https://blueplanetacademy.com/en.”
How to enroll in the Aquaculture Academy
The Aquaculture Academy offers two permanent training and support centres: Kamuthanga Fish Farm in Machakos county and Jewlet Fish Farm in Homabay county. These training facilities include a hatchery, cultivation systems, classrooms and accommodation. The Academy offers certificate courses (basic, advanced and mobile) and online courses. Course fees range from Ksh 5,000 for a basic 2-day course to Ksh 10,000 for advanced 7-day courses to dedicated on-demand courses (subject to change).
Are you interested to enroll? Kindly visit the Aquaculture Academy website via: http://aquacultureacademy.co.ke/ or call +254 742337723 for more details regarding campuses, courses, services and registration.
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Appendix: SDG contribution
- 2. Zero Hunger: The development of commercial aquaculture does not only provide food and nutrition but also contributes to food security through employment and economic growth.
- also contributes to food security through employment and economic growth.
- 4. Quality Education: students are trained hands-on in all aspects of sustainable fish farming,
- enabling them to either start their own business or work for established farms. Those trained serve themselves as ambassadors and educators, spreading their knowledge among many in their own local community.
- 5. Gender Equality: To date, our training program has comprised at least half of female participants and the lead trainers have often been female role models.
- 8. Decent work and economic growth: FoodTechAfrica has provided direct job opportunities for over 595 employees and 6,897 people indirectly.
- 9. Industry, innovation and infrastructure: By exploring pioneering technological solutions in collaboration with local entrepreneurs, such as solar-based electricity systems or insects for fish feed, innovation is fostered.
- 12. Responsible consumption and production: We seek to fundamentally disrupt unsustainable production patterns by locally producing fish for local consumption, with minimal environmental impact. With water and land becoming even more scarce resources, fish farming should minimize the use of these resources.
- 17. Partnerships for the goals: Through a North-South Public-Private Partnership of parties from East Africa and the Netherlands, FoodTechAfrica is a great example of a global partnership for sustainable development.