As many of you might already know, we are into the development of making commercial aquaponics systems (1) more sustainable, and (2) more productive. We believe that this is necessary for commercial success. We are currently not only involved in the already presented desertfoods project in Namibia, but also with a project in Kenya: the kikaboni farm.
Kikaboni is Swahili and means organic. This term represents the approach of the farm: permaculture, incorporating a decoupled aquaponics system as the heart of the organization. The farm is located 30km south-west of Nairobi close to Kiserian. Water can be quite scarce, making commercial aquaponics a perfect farming technology for that specific area.
The following schematic illustration (Dijkgraaf, 2018) gives an overview of the Kikaboni aquaponic system with all relevant material flows. Dashed lines indicate flows of water, containing nutrients. The identity of the solid lines is indicated in the figure.
We started building the system in September 2017, which was quite a challenge. We had to import most of the aquaculture system materials, and built the hydroponic deep water culture beds ourselves with timber and pond liner. We required quite some manpower to achieve this for 1500 m². Right now, the recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) is circulating, and lettuce is harvested several times a month all being sold. Below a picture from 2 months ago, when we started up the hydroponics system and trained the staff.
The next steps are the integration of chicken that can be fed organic waste as well as the creation of an orchard. Also we are currently importing deep NFT channels for cultivating tomatoes in two other greenhouses that we already set up on the farm. We will keep you posted.