How does aquaponics benefit Senegalese farmers?

Rolling out aquaponics solutions is not financially possible for everyone… Nevertheless, the benefits are very concrete: it can enable farmers to generate additional income over and above their main activity. This is the challenge taken up by the EIG FeedAfrica project.
Photo © mariesacha/Adobe Stock

Humanitarian & development

  • Location:
    Senegal
  • Sponsor:
    Pierre Ascencio
  • Grant:
    €50,000 at the selection committee meeting on 16 March 2020

Project owner

GIE FeedAfrica

The FeedAfrica Economic Interest Group (EIG) aims to develop simplified aquaponics systems and encourage freshwater aquaculture as an additional source of income for market gardeners in rural areas. It relies in particular on the expertise of Guy Gohier, an aquaculture and permaculture specialist, who founded the Comptoir de Recherche Aquacole et Mytilicole du Sénégal (Crams).

A simplified aquaponics system

In Senegal, the EIG has created a simplified aquaponics model that has already been installed on eight farms. The system includes a fish pond built three metres above the ground in the middle of the fields. A drip system makes it possible to water an area of 5,000 m² twice with water that has been enriched (nitrogen, phosphate, potassium) by the fish. A well is equipped with a solar-powered pump that pumps the water to the pond. It has an outlet at each end, each equipped with a valve for gravitational watering of the market garden. The installation eliminates the work of daily watering.

The first results are visible: vegetable production increases by more than 20% thanks to the enriched irrigation water. Above all, in addition to vegetable production, a farmer will also produce around 7,200 kg of fish (tilapia, family Cichlidae) per year in two production cycles.

The drive to expand...

The eight farms selected by the EIG to benefit from aquaponics are now at financial break-even point. In order to equip themselves, they benefit from a renewable credit line which is paid back by the beneficiary farmers and allows continuity with new beneficiaries. The return on investment is under five years.

In order to support this simplified aquaponics accessibility initiative for farmers in Senegal, the Veolia Foundation is providing the EIG with a refundable loan to finance the construction of two simplified aquaculture units (turnkey creation of an aquaculture pond and supply of inputs to ensure the first year's production).