Maximizing opportunities: enabling climate resilient urban slum communities through backyard catfish culture using solar energy and insects
Strengthening urban food production system by piloting innovative catfish, solar & larval insect technologies in slum areas in Malawi.
Claris gariepinus, the African catfish, can grow in high densities in small backyard concrete tanks - Starting point was ~ 1995 in Lagos and Abuja backyards of the Nigerian catfish farming sector which now (2015) produces over 180,000 MT across the country. Close proximity to urban markets and unfulfilled demand plus the robust nature of this fish for live fish transport meant that this supplementary income earning activity soon developed profitably.
As periurban catfish culture developed in the backstreets of Lagos and Abuja enterprising producers began to add value and process also branding Smoked vacuum backed products such have a relatively long shelf life and don't require refrigeration
As the Nigerian backyard catfish rearing sector grew certain individuals began to specialise in value addition and bought their own smokers
The periurban Nigerian catfish farming sector grew through the widespread acceptability of smoked catfish - of fish initially around 300-400g which took 2.5- 3 months to culture in concrete tanks - therefore rapid turnover and cashflow for the fish farmers
Thai chicken wastes here shown as frozen product which was stored by Thai catfish farmers when there gluts of processed chicken on the market. We know that around Blantyre and Lilongwe there are commercial broiler units but at a much smaller production compared to their thai counterparts . We wish to explore possibilities if this waste is available around Blantyre and Lilongwe to incorporate for the backyard catfish farmers as a lower cost feed alternative
Thai minced chicken bones heads and viscera mixed with rice bran and or canteen waste as a low cost but high protein level feed for urban catfish farmers around Bangkok. This system was first used in early 1990s and led to the increase of catfish production up to 30,000MT per annum . See further photos
Processing chicken wastes periurban Thailand with the final byproduct being low value bones, heads & viscera - These are ground down in a petrol extruder then mixed with either rice bran or canteen wastes to produce a mince like relatively high protein product which is then used by hybrid catfish farmers. Please read attached paper from D Little - We know that in Malawi there is not the same level of commercial chicken processing but wish to explore possibilities
Claris gariepinus, the African catfish, can grow in high densities in small backyard concrete tanks - This was the starting point ~ 1995 in Lagos and Abuja backyards of the Nigerian catfish farming sector which now (2015) produces over 180,000 MT across the country. Close proximity to urban markets and unfulfilled demand plus the robust nature of this fish for live fish transport meant that this supplementary income earning activity soon developed profitably.
Black soldier fly larvae can safely be produced in kg quantities in confined spaces recycling low value wastes - to produce a high protein low cost fish feed . At Univ of Stirling we have experience in BSF production linked to aquaculture through 2 projects (DFID and EC funded) in Ghana where we have already carried out a feed trial using the dried maggot meal as a replacement for fish meal in the diets of tilapia on a commercial tilapia cage farm in Volta Region.
Black soldier fly larvae can be produced in simple plastic bins with internal concentric ramps for separation & collection of larvae. This results in low cost fish feed produced in confined spaces & recycles urban waste. A valuable by-product in the left over substrate after insect production which is a dry odourless fertiliser that can be used for vegetable production Producing BSF in urban conditions in Malawi would have to be tested carefully first to assess cultural & social acceptance
Small scale backyard catfish concrete tanks Stung Treng province July 2015 part of WorldFish Center project Cambodia - note hanging solar powered lights over each tank which attract flying insects each night providing further free food (protein) for catfish - Solar power also used to aerate water in each tank and low head water pumping to recirculate and filter tank water allowing higher yields
Ethnic Vietnamese selling 3 month old concrete tank farmed live catfish in Stung Treng market Cambodia ~ at USD2.50 per kg Each trader selling approximately 500kg per day.
Mostly women 20-60 years of age who run these concrete catfish backyard tank systems in Stung Treng province - Many of them also use the nutrient rich water from the tanks to irrigate backyard allotment style vegetable gardens
Small scale Clarias concrete tank (4X2X1 M) Stung Treng town run by middle aged woman - note (fertilised ) green colour of water and small vegetable plot in background . One of these tanks can produce up to 200 kg of catfish in 3 month cycle.
Stung Treng town - this lady expanded her first concrete tank to build block of 4 - sharing walls - which allowed her to grade and split her fish increasing profit margins
EXPLAIN YOUR IDEA
The project aims to build climate resilience among slum dwellers by providing additional source of income and food, based on resources and opportunities available in their locations. Malawi, particularly Lilongwe and Blantyre, will serve as a pilot of a technology already proven to work in Nigeria and Cambodia to produce catfish in backyard small scale concrete tanks incorporating simple but proven solar energy and insect larvae production technologies. The successful models in Cambodia were set up initially with carefully selected individuals, mainly women, and working closely with a microfinance organization, which provided a loan for the commercial fish feed and fingerlings production for the 3-month cycle. Together, this accounts for 70% of the total running costs. This loan was then repaid after three months when the fish were harvested and sold in local markets and/or by the tankside to local neighbours. The systems were enhanced in Cambodia with the incorporation of simple solar panels. These provide lighting over the tanks at night for security and to attract swarm of flying insects which will eventually drop into the water and becoming food to the fish. The solar panel also provides water aeration during the day to improve water quality and allow higher stocking densities. We will incorporate simple bin production of black soldier fly larvae to enable the recycling of low value wastes for fish feed and collection of roof rainwater to supply the fish tanks.
The people who will benefit initially will be those who are involved in the pilot. They will benefit from additional income and supply of fresh fish after 3 months. We want to run the pilots twice every 3-month cycles to test the technology in two low income slum areas of Lilongwe and Blantyre in Malawi and assess seasonality issues. The participants and pilot areas will be carefully selected. With the insights gained, we will scale up the technology to other neighbours/interested households.
HOW DOES YOUR IDEA TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE CONTEXT OF URBAN SLUMS AND CLIMATE CHANGE?
This idea is based on successes in low income urban Nigeria and now Cambodia where urban land access, security, space and proximity to markets gave these systems a comparative advantage. The higher than ponds concrete tank constructions will mitigate risks from the increasing annual flooding in Lagos and Abuja and protection from theft being located next to the owner's dwellings. Changing seasonal rainfall patterns have already been observed in both Lilongwe and Blantyre. This has made conventional pond aquaculture more problematic. The idea proposed here therefore is a realistic and achievable model for fish production in low income housing areas in Malawi's two major cities. We will partner in this venture with Umodzi, which is a successful Malawian development NGO we have worked with before and have experience in food production and associated value chains in periurban areas. In terms of design, such systems are easily constructed. In Cambodia, it costed around USD260 for a 2x4 x1M blockwork tank with a payback period of 2.7 years. Adding further blocks of such tanks using common walls allows for further economies of scale and increased profitability.
This solution explores everyday opportunities available in slum communities to address needs for food and income. The resources used in the proposed system (energy, feeds, water and fish) will come from the locality. Only insights from other countries are imported but tailored to the context of Malawi, and potentially other cities in the developing world.
Yes, for two or more years
I’ve worked in a sector related to my idea for at least two years
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOURSELF
I work at the Institute of Aquaculture University of Stirling in Scotland. I have 20 years working in aquaculture development in developing African and Asian countries including presently the Aquaculture Enterprise Malawi project. I was a VSO volunteer in Ghana for 4 years working on aquaculture.
IS THIS A NEW OR RECENT IDEA FOR YOU OR YOUR ORGANIZATION? HOW DOES IT DIFFER FROM WHAT YOU ARE ALREADY DOING?
This is not a new idea or system having been developed in Nigeria originally 20 years ago as similar small periurban backyard concrete tank systems in Lagos & Abuja. These then developed with strong entrepreneurial spirit over 20 years into a fully blown industry & the country now at 180,000MT per year being the largest catfish producer in Africa. Stirling have been involved with catfish in Africa for a number of years ie Dr Kim Jauncey in catfish feed nutrition in the 1990s, Anton Immink working with a catfish producer in Uganda, one of our MSc students doing their thesis project there. Also currently we have a Nigerian PhD student doing his thesis research in Nigerian on Clarias broodstock development. This year I have been involved in a World Bank consultancy in 2 provinces in NE Cambodia where these backyard tank systems are now beginning to develop particularly being run by female urban dwellers integrated with irrigated vegetables and small scale solar.
HOW IS YOUR IDEA DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SIMILAR INITIATIVES? WHAT ARE YOU DOING DIFFERENTLY? WHAT UNIQUE ADVANTAGES DO YOU HAVE?
Where this idea is essentially different is that it is completely unproven in an urban context outside Nigeria. In Malawi & elsewhere across Africa there are traditionally small scale urban producers of poultry & pigs who have proven business models. This system & associated value chain can be differentiated positively in a number of ways from these ie: 1. It is far more environmentally friendly in an enclosed urban space in safely recycling nutrients into irrigated vegetables 2. Whilst per kg of fresh fish /protein produced it has a smaller water footprint than chickens & pigs. 3 Much lower disease risk 4 It is incorporating low cost solar & black soldier fly technologies to further enhance profitability. For advantages: Clarias is an ideal fish for live transport thus can be transported & sold to other outside markets for higher prices. We have in our team a former Zimbabwean commercial fish farm manager, rare to find such expertise in Malawi, who is already working on a Scottish funded Aquaculture Enterprise project around Blantyre - We also have strong contacts with Blantyre Municipal Authority & urban planners who are keen to take this up
Nigerians show in the hatchery sector that you can easily use locally available materials - ie timber and plastic tarpaulin liners to construct hatchery troughs like this - one which will hold up to 30,000 catfish fingerlings . What tends to happen as the Nigerian backyard catfish farming sector has grown over the years is that the best and most switched on outgrowing farmers realise they can have a faster cash turnover and also make higher profits producing fingerlings.
Abudala Napuru former Lake Harvest Zimbabwe and Uganda Fish Farm Manager - Abudala brings years of experience from commercial sector and is well aware of the challenges and pathways to successful commercially viable aquaculture . To have him on this project is a valuable asset as there are few in Malawi currently with his experience
WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR IDEA?
In terms of unknowns & as such potential risks we need to be well aware and go on to prototype at pre implantation stage : 1 If markets for these live Clarias will develop - Currently they are not available in inner city Malawi. 2. Security issues in such lower income crowded areas theft can be big issue - We will prototype and test different security devices with the tanks - eg metal mesh frames padlocked covering tanks - security can make or break this project. 3 Local commercial feed supply Is it good enough quality to produce good growth & FCRs at price the business plan can accommodate? 4 Will there be any cultural issues producing black soldier fly in inner city areas?
WHY DO YOU THINK THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HASN'T BEEN SOLVED YET?
In terms of absence of any similar urban fish production in Malawi & /or supply of fresh live fish to inner city lower income persons: 1Malawians completely unaware of success story from Nigeria 2 They dont realise that it can be additional income earning activity to fit in with other daily activities 3 Govt Fisheries Dept totally unaware of this production model & still (along with outside donors) try to develop rural fish production far from lucrative urban markets. Also they have poor/no selection procedures for identifying small numbers of special entrepreneurial individuals. Would also add still difficult for such people to access affordable microcredit to start up
HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BASED ON FEEDBACK FROM YOUR COMMUNITY?
Feedback over last 2 yrs concerning feasibility of urban backyard catfish systems from Aquaculture Enterprise farming tilapia farmers in areas outside Blantyre. Subject discussed at workshop with 20 of them. Comments included: How much to set up tanks? Could they be made from cheaper materials wood? Will there be enough fingerlings to stock them regularly? Will need planning permission (bribes!) to local authority.? For this application I asked my two colleagues Abudala Napuru (AEM) & Tione Kaonga (Umodzi) to carry out quick informal interviews with potential uptakers in Blantyre advising them these people should be entrepreneurial, involved in some form of small business (food production/service ?) in low income urban areas. Feedback from these were: 1 Mr Masasa 47 from Chilomoni suburb of Blantyre. Agro dealer & rears pigs at his house. He said “Urban catfish farming could be good business venture since other business requires a lot of money to invest in & loans from the local banks are very high.” 2 Mrs Maggie Ndovi 39 from Blantyre involved in catering sector. Willing to rear catfish she said "I dont eat catfish but my family do. Wouldn't have trouble selling I would smoke them" 3 Mathias Chileka 52 fish trader Limbe market "Wouldn't mind but Im renting, landlord wouldnt accept" Finally Tione met Dr Alfred Chanza CEO for Blantyre City Assembly Open to the project but wanted more info on Nigerian systems health issues, disposal of waste water?
Mr Masasa 47 yrs old, married with 3 children now away from home, from Chilomoni suburb of Blantyre is an Agro dealer supplying chemicals/treatments to local communities - he also rears pigs in a structure next to his house. He was interested in doing it but his main concern with taking up this system was how much were the start up costs? And availability within any new project of reliable trustworthy microcredit to get a start up loan.
WHAT WOULD YOU ULTIMATELY LIKE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS IDEA? WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP TO GET THERE?
See Evolution of catfish systems in downtown Lagos. Note example husband & wife hairdresser (team) starting off two small tanks then growing http://on.aol.com/video/catfish-farming-in-nigeria-444634718. During the project, the aim is to get 15-20 entrepreneurial Malawian urbanites to demonstrate financial feasibility of systems & associated value chains. Then for them to act as working examples for others to take up & then look to form urban "clusters" supporting each other - reduced micro-credit & feed costs -bulk buying also develop mutually beneficial value addition (smoking) & marketing networks, going on-line like Nigerians to search for more lucrative prices.
Our target users for the catfish technology are people who can utilise local resources. For example Rotani the local builder, who has the skills to build a simple tank system for producing catfish. We expect that once a basic culture unit is up and running such local people will adapt and improve it, reducing costs and improving its efficiency.We will look for ways of incorporating our knowledge, of the needs of the catfish, to this local capacity.
Filesa Panja is a single women entrepreneur who makes a living preparing and selling hot cooked food in Ndirande slum in Malawi.This video shows something of her daily life in the slum and the opportunities for small businesses based on food to thrive. It demonstrates how freshness and quality of ingredients is really valued by her 35 customers who use her service daily and how availability of high quality live catfish produced close by (like the chickens!) will add value.
Catfish in pepper stew and soup and plantain sold all over Nigeria Note the larger fish cut into "steaks" - these steaks in the video have white appearance and firm flesh texture In our project would arrange open cooking and tasting days in inner city areas in Blantyre and Lilongwe to demonstrate different recipes for catfish - but in pepper soup is the best one!!
Note stocking density of fish in backyard tank - also discussion about economics of the system These larger catfish will sell in Lagos markets at $2.50 - $3.00 per kg
Not sure what this section is for...... - But if I was an evaluator on this general call I would ask the following question......
If you /your project was going to be working in an inner city slum area of a city which other local or national organisations and or individuals outside of the projects specific area(s) of expertise do you think you would have to engage and work with in order to make the project and its beneficiaries successful
How does your idea connect to the broader system of the city where you plan to implement?
As mentioned already in responses to some of the evaluators questions - we would be linking to some of the better quality fish farmers in the Aquaculture Enterprise project in order to develop new opportunities for them to become successful financially viable catfish fingerling producers. Outside of "aquaculture" through our local partners Umodzi we would be able to develop training and linkages in small business development and particularly market and input value chains in the two Malawian cities. The solar technologies required to develop tank lighting, water pumping and aeration - we would look to work together with another Scottish govt funded Renewable Energy project run in periurban areas of Blantyre by University of Strathclyde, Scotland. We have also already started consultations with the Blantyre Municipal Authority who appear keen to run with this project. We will do likewise with their counterparts in Lilongwe