In January 2017, AquaFish Innovation Lab partners in Africa (from Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda) gathered in Kampala, Uganda, to share challenges and lessons learned and provide updates on research, capacity building, gender integration, and outreach efforts.

The process of finding local, cost-effective, alternative feeds was a recurring topic of discussion. Feed costs comprise 50-80% of all aquaculture production costs, which is why feeds research has served as one of the focal areas of AquaFish Innovation Lab research for nearly a decade. Researchers are working to find alternative feed ingredients and determine reduced feeding strategies in order to improve production efficiencies.

To honor the many years of commitment to investigating feeds, AquaFish Innovation Lab partners discussed a plan to assess the breadth and depth of the AquaFish Innovation Lab feeds research across program countries. Collectively, the group will synthesize this information to produce a report that highlights the most successful feed ingredients and strategies and the outcomes and impacts of that research. “The goal is to not only capture successes, but inform the direction of future feeds research,” said Jenna Borberg of the AquaFish Innovation Lab Management Team.

AquaFish Innovation Lab regional partners also had the opportunity to tour local fish farm facilities to understand the state of aquaculture in Uganda and the growing capacity of the industry. The visits resulted in productive discussions, allowing AquaFish Innovation Lab’s African regional partners to share on the ground experiences in aquaculture management with local farmers. Simultaneously, the farmers were able to gain a greater understanding of feed types and costs and compare prices of fish sold in other locations.

Partners continued discussions about best practices for disseminating research and building local skills and knowledge. It is a high priority to ensure that AquaFish Innovation Lab-supported research and technologies are transferred to host country researchers, extension agents, farmers, industry personnel, managers, and policy makers. Building individual, community, and institutional capacity is also important so that host country partners can establish and implement new lines of research once AquaFish Innovation Lab funding has ended.