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Title: Aquaculture Development in Kenya and Uganda: Advancing Cost-effective Technology, Market Assessment, and End-user Engagement
Theme: Income Generation for Small-Scale Fish Farmers and Fishers
Lead US University: Auburn University
Lead Host Country University: Makerere University
Poor families in developing countries typically spend 50 to 70 percent of their income on food. When quality food becomes too expensive, women tend to modify their consumption, often turning to cheaper alternatives, which typically lack necessary nutrients. To increase income and reduce the prevalence of undernutrition, enhancing access to fish and sustainable aquaculture is key. This project builds on previous work by AquaFish Innovation Lab researchers to address obstacles to the development and growth of aquaculture in Kenya and Uganda. Researchers are developing low-cost captive breeding and hatching technologies of African lungfish (Protopterus aethiopicus and P. amphibius) that will introduce new opportunities for farming popular native species that are less vulnerable to a changing climate than many non-native species. To increase incomes for fish farmers and improve (and expand) markets of farmed fish, researchers assess price volatility in the fish supply chain in Uganda, in addition to creating a cell-phone network that will connect people throughout the aquaculture value chain. With the hope of mitigating negative environmental impacts of aquaculture, researchers measure various metrics of water quality in farmed waterbodies and evaluate the need for water quality amendments. Beyond direct improvements to aquaculture in Kenya and Uganda, researchers plan to train and support women in aquaculture. With the help of institutional partners and industry, researchers are conducting a series of capstone events that train women on the nutritional value of new species and augment women’s access to information about the entire value chain of aquaculture.
Current Research (2016 - 2018)
AquaFish Innovation Lab 2013-2015 research and capacity building in Kenya and Uganda built on previous program work to address obstacles to the development and growth of aquaculture. Through six investigations, this project focused on finding practical solutions to address challenges under diverse and changing local circumstances. The development of low-cost captive breeding and hatching technologies of African lungfish was investigated to introduce new opportunities for farming a popular native species, which is less vulnerable to a changing climate than many non-native species. Training, research, and outreach was focused on growing a spatially balanced distribution of seedstock producer clusters to help foster the development of the tilapia industry. Production of readily available, high quality fingerlings was studied to facilitate producer motivation for timely restocking to increase production and enhance availability of supply. A cell phone network connecting seedstock producers and farmers, and farmers and retailers, was created to reach and engage fish farmers with practical information to improve incomes and market opportunities. Feed formulations were improved to help address the current burden of high costs of fish feeds that hinder production and expansion of aquaculture in both countries. Aquaponics, or combined fish and crop production, was introduced for its promise for new opportunities for food and income production.