Sustainable Development Goals vision by FoodTechAfrica
Our vision for the future of aquaculture in East-Africa is closely aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which offer a universal framework to measure our social and environmental impact. Growth of the aquaculture sector has the potential to positively impact millions, but only if done so sustainably and inclusive.
FoodTechAfrica is actively engaged in all steps of the value chain: from local aquafeed and fingerling production, sustainable farming techniques to transport, storage and serving the local customers with fresh fish: we carefully assess how to positively impact the entire value chain. Having established the firstEcomark certified fish farm on the African continent, we take pride in bringing innovative solutions and providing lasting income opportunities for many along the entire aquaculture value chain of East-Africa.
Hunger is still a pressing issue in the East-African region. Not only do many still suffer from undernourishment, the hidden hunger of malnourishment further affects millions. Protein deficiencies in children and adults lead to life-long complications and the loss of many lives.
For many living in East-Africa, fish is the primary source of protein. Through increased production of fish, FoodTechAfrica provides high-quality proteins for an affordable price to local communities. The use of intensive, closed fish farming technology allows for production to be close to urban centres, bringing food to where it is most demanded.
The development of commercial aquaculture does not only provide food and nutrition, but also contributes to food security through employment and economic growth. Moreover, our larger nucleus farms provide high-quality inputs to smallholder farmers, enabling them to grow fish profitably for themselves, their families and their local community.
“Fish is an important food source. But with captured fisheries overexploited. Fish supply is not keeping up with the growing demand. To counter this, aquaculture should expand”. FoodTechAfrica 2011
SDG 4 Quality Education
Key to quality education is ensuring the gained knowledge leads to life-long opportunities. In East-Africa, there is often a mismatch between the education provided and the job market requirements. Students lack the practical skills needed to work in the jobs available or to start their own.
In our training programs, 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. From farm management to feed production, our activities have provided a platform for learning and capacity building. Alumni have proven to be essential to the program, growing the sector with their newly acquired expertise. By working together with local knowledge institutes, capacity building is supported and long-lasting impact is achieved. Those trained serve themselves as ambassadors and educators, spreading their knowledge among many in their own local community.
SDG 5 Gender Equality
In East-Africa, gender equality is still far from achieved. Although women are highly involved in the agricultural sector, they often do not have decision power or land ownership. Within the aquaculture value chain, women lack access to the knowledge and skills needed to effectively participate in commercial aquaculture.
Achieving gender equality means to take action. To date, our training programs have comprised for at least half of female participants and the lead trainers have often been female role models. Key to our education program is teaching business and entrepreneurial skills, empowering women to start their own business. At our partner farms, women employees are vital parts of the organizations, working in hatchery and farm operations or in key management positions.
SDG 8 Decent work and economic growth
Within East-Africa, the number of unemployed or poorly employed people still remains high, especially among those who are young. Often employed in the informal sector, many are facing difficulties to earn a decent living wage.
FoodTechAfrica has provided direct job opportunities for over 550 employees by our work so far. By providing training, high-quality inputs and through stimulating entrepreneurship, the initiative has created many more indirect income opportunities. Those trained and employed at the different locations are primarily youth, who have learned the skills needed for a lifelong career. Looking ahead, the aquaculture industry in East-Africa has the potential to propel sustainable economic growth through innovation and the creation of SMEs.
“Aquaculture becomes the most important sector in Kenya’s economy. Since it is the key driver to a food-secure nation and general social-economic development”. Prof. Micheni Ntiba, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries of Kenya
SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and infrastructure
East-Africa is experiencing a true industrialization drive. Many of the individual governments have made industrialization the spearhead of their policy, aiming to reach middle-income status or beyond. Yet this drive is stifled by a lack of access to the required capital and technology.
Through innovation and expertise, FoodTechAfrica supports the development of the aquaculture industry. Key infrastructure to sustainably develop the entire sector has been build, including the first extruded floating fish feed mill in Kenya. The production in intensive fish farming systems is a great example of innovation in infrastructure, successfully adapting a high-technology solution to the local context of East-Africa. Local sourcing of ingredients adds value to local agriculture products. By exploring pioneering technological solutions in collaboration with local entrepreneurs, such as solar-based electricity systems or insect-based fish feed ingredients, innovation is fostered. In turn, this innovation provides
market opportunities for business growth.
”The whole idea was upscaling fish production in Africa, because we are doing ponds all over the country. But when you have a look at the statistics, we still have a deficit. Importing fish is was not the solution, but what you’re seeing here, is a look at the future.” John Eric, local fish farm manager
SDG 12 Responsible consumption and production
Talk of the global population reaching 10 billion by 2050 has been around for some time. Yet, this statistic actually hides the source of this growth, and its implications. Africa and Asia will contribute the lion’s share of this new growth and as a result will face potentially catastrophic food shortfalls unless a dramatic boost in productivity can be achieved.
We seek to fundamentally disrupt unsustainable production patterns by locally producing fish for local consumption, with minimal environmental impact. With water and land becoming ever more scarce resources, fish farming should minimize the use of these resources while maximizing food output.
The recirculation aquaculture system (RAS) design of FoodTechAfrica is the most efficient method currently available to produce fish in the region. Sourcing locally and exploring alternative types of proteins for aquafeed is a key part of our approach to a sustainable value chain.
“By producing close to the market, post-harvest losses are minimized. As recognition of its sustainability, the Kamuthanga fish farm of FoodTechAfrica has been the first farm on the African continent to be awarded the EcoMark Africa certification at the platinum level, the highest of four certification levels”. Winnie Ouko
SDG 17 Partnership for the goals
Inclusive and sustainable development can only be achieved through partnerships and collaboration. Local entrepreneurs in East-Africa generally lack access to technology and knowledge essential for successfully starting their business.
Through a North-South Public-Private Partnership of 21 parties from East-Africa and the Netherlands, FoodTechAfrica is a great example of a global partnership for sustainable development. Through the exchange of technical knowledge and innovation, the global development agenda is accelerated. By working together, business opportunities previously unattainable open up. This partnership is ever-expanding, providing an inclusive platform for global collaboration.
“FoodTechAfrica gave us an opportunity to partner with people who are experts at what they do”. Nicholas C. Hutchinson, CEO of Unga Holdings Ltd.
We realize our journey has just begun. Being actively involved in aquaculture activities in Kenya,Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda, we are excited about the prospects we can help foster. We thus invite you to join us, and work together to transform sustainable aquaculture in East Africa.