Haller, Aquaponics and Urban Farming
In September, Haller Kenya were once again invited to participate in the Mombasa International Show. Established in 1903, the MIS showcases the best in East African advancements across a variety of sectors, including trade, education, manufacturing, energy and agriculture.
With attendance figures of over 60,000 and featuring hundreds of different stalls and displays, the show attracts visitors from across Kenyan society and the wider world.
Haller’s focus on agricultural innovation means that members of the Haller Kenya team have contributed to the show in the past, featuring innovations such as the Haller Farmers App, controlled soldier fly production and urban farming systems.
The agricultural focus for the 2017 show was replicable aquaponics systems as requested by the Kenyan government. Haller have regularly worked with aquaponics and integrated farming systems and, in the months prior to the showcase, worked on developing a compact, integrated aquaponic fish-farming system.
The expansion of cities across Africa, coupled with increasing demand for urban agriculture, mean that increasingly innovative solutions are needed to meet the needs of farmers with limited access to land. To try and meet the needs of this demographic, Haller Kenya focused on urban aquaponics, creating a system tailor-made to suit the needs of the urban farmer.
The primary concerns of an urban farmer, when compared to their rural counterparts are space constraints and time constraints. With many urban farmers using agriculture as a method for additional income development and food production as opposed to the entirety of their livelihood, the system needed to be as compact as possible and requiring as little maintenance as possible.
Anastacia, Gideon and the Haller Kenya team created a compact, integrated, automated system for fish farming and vegetable production. Taking up only 5m2 and easily fitting in a typical Kenyan backyard, the system is designed to require as little human involvement as possible, thus enabling the owner to continue to go to work.
The system runs on solar panel and consists of three distinct components. Firstly, the small fish pond. This tank is filled with Tilapia, an incredibly resilient, versatile and fast-breeding fish, whose fingerlings have a large re-sale value and, when fully grown, is consumed across Africa.
The water from the fish pond, enriched with fish droppings, is then pumped into the vegetable tank. The fish droppings act as an effective fertilizer for plant growth, and the plants have the effect of oxygenating the water. From here, the water is then flushed into a reservoir, at which point the process begins again.
With the water pumps and filtration powered by a small solar panel, the only human input needed other than harvesting is feeding the fish twice a day, well within the capabilities of people with separate full-time employment. Additionally, with water availability across the developing world increasingly unpredictable, a system than can produce different forms of food within a self-contained water system, means that people can conserve and make the best use of their water supply.
By focusing on automation, Haller’s Kenyan team successfully developed a system that can easily provide additional sources of food and income for farmers across the world.
The quality, replicability and innovation shown by the urban aquaponics system was recognized at the end of the show. As part of the Ministry of Agriculture stall, Haller were part of a group who won three separate awards for displaying innovative agriculture that can easily be adopted by urban dwellers.
As with all our agricultural projects, development is ongoing, with the small-scale aquaponics system, and work is ongoing to integrate this new component into our existing projects.
On behalf of the UK team and all Haller supporters, many congratulations to everyone involved with the development of the system!