Solar aquaponics poultry

Solar aquaponics poultry
Solar aquaponics poultry

When Mr Samuel Sikuku looks at his farm located in the rocky hills of Kandaria Location, Lower Nyakach in Kisumu County, he marvels at his crops, catfish and tilapia, as he readies himself for his first harvest.  This is not just because he is likely to pocket Ksh600,000 from harvesting the fish alone in two months’ time, but also due to the vast potential of his entire enterprise.

On his two-acre farm, he is using only 20mx10m to do aquaponics poultry, where he raises fish, keeps chickens and grows sukumawiki (kales), onions and tomatoes.

Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics (soilless farming), where fish and plants are grown together in an integrated symbiotic system, depending on each other for survival. Aquaponics poultry farming is a combination of chickens, fish and plants.

The chicken structure is constructed on top of the whole system to allow When Mr Samuel Sikuku looks at his farm located in the rocky hills of Kandaria Location, Lower Nyakach in Kisumu County, he marvels at his crops, catfish and tilapia, as he readies himself for his first harvest.  This is not just because he is likely to pocket Ksh600,000 from harvesting the fish alone in two months’ time, but also due to the vast potential of his entire enterprise.

On his two-acre farm, he is using only 20mx10m to do aquaponics poultry, where he raises fish, keeps chickens and grows sukumawiki (kales), onions and tomatoes.

Aquaponics is the combination of aquaculture and hydroponics (soilless farming), where fish and plants are grown together in an integrated symbiotic system, depending on each other for survival. Aquaponics poultry farming is a combination of chickens, fish and plants.

The chicken structure is constructed on top of the whole system to allow the birds’ droppings to fall into the pond, while water from the fish pond is recycled and used to water the crops.

Chicken waste becomes fish feed, and the fish waste in the water is pumped to the vegetables, which absorb the ammonia-rich fish waste. This provides organic food for the plants, which naturally filter the water through their roots and it goes back to the pond clean and oxygenated. This saves on the cost of expensive aerators or refilling the water.  “Nothing goes to waste here,” says Mr Sikuku, grateful to a Mr Robert Mwakio as he awaits his bounty harvest.

“I first learnt about aquaponics farming on Facebook and it was not until late December 2017 that I got in touch with Robert Mwakio through my sister,” recalls the 43-year-old, who has become a celebrity in his Kandaria Village.

Mr Mwakio is not only a successful farmer in aquaponic poultry rearing, he is also becoming a household name in Kenya and Rwanda for constructing, training and educating farmers on this type of farming, which he started in 2014. “I used KSh100,000(Confirm figures, there’s a contradiction in the story) as seed capital to start the venture, putting in a total of 1,000 Tilapia and 800 catfish fingerlings that were provided by Mr Mwakio,” says Mr Sikuku, a father of three children.

The fish are fed once a day with chicken waste. He feeds both the catfish and tilapia with wheat bran,” he says. Catfish takes about six weeks to mature, and a kilo fetches KSh500, while tilapia costs between KSh200 and KSh300. For reliable water supply, he harvests rain water. “I use about 2,000 litres of water reserved in a tank. During the dry season, I top this up with water from vendors at the cost of KSh1,000 a month,” adds the farmer, who had tried rearing kienyeji (traditional) chicken after being disappointed by layers in 2015, before settling on aquaponic poultry farming. “I managed to get only a meagre Ksh20, 000 as profit from layers,” recalls the former casual labourer in Kisumu Town.

Mr Sikuku has partnered with officials from World Vision to train fellow farmers. “I am happy so many people who were once sceptical are impressed when they come to my farm and see how my catfish and tilapia have matured.”

He adds: “I am now targeting youth groups to train them on how aquaponics poultry farming works, so as to woo them into agribusiness.” Solar aquaponics poultry But Mr Mwakio has gone even a notch higher in aquaponics poultry – he is now using solar energy to boost the venture.

He developed an interest in aquaponics years back, while doing his master’s degree course at Southern University of Agricultural and Mechanics College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. At the university, this was practised on a large scale.

“I knew that one day, I would customize this to suit Kenyan needs,” he says. After returning home in 2013, he converted his interest into opportunity, venturing into aquaponic poultry farming, before eventually combining chickens, fish and plants.

Today, Mr Mwakio, who started the venture in 2014, in his backyard at Buru Buru Estate in Nairobi, has become a household name in Kenya and in the semi-arid Nyamata region of Rwanda, where besides constructing aquaponic systems for farmers, he is also harnessing solar energy to power his systems.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here