Experimenting with Aquaponics farms in Nairobi
May 2, 2014 3 Comments
by Daniel Moore, danieljamesmoore.wordpress.com
Some people say my business partner Jacquie and I are a little bit crazy. We are starting an aquaponics farming business in Nairobi, Kenya in the midst of poverty, pollution, power cuts, and corruption. We are doing this because we want to improve food security, job opportunities and create new business around the developing world. We could have found an easier startup (an oxymoron in and of itself) but we were both passionate about this issue and wanted to prove that a profitable farm could be built in an urban context. Let me take you back a couple of years for a little more of my story.
After graduating from university, I worked with a social enterprise organization called The Paradigm Project, selling fuel-efficient cookstoves to rural villagers. In Kenya, a majority of the rural population still uses biomass such as wood and charcoal to cook meals. As a result, deforestation and various smoke-related diseases are rampant. This was an incredibly eye-opening experience for me. However, I noticed that although Paradigm’s cookstoves reduced costs for the poor and included many health benefits, they didn’t actually create wealth (besides for the people who sold the products). I wanted to take part in something that allowed the developing world to create its own wealth.
As I returned to the United States and began researching aquaponics, I became increasingly enamored with the opportunities it presented. Here was a technology that could be installed virtually anywhere in the world to grow nutritious food and start new businesses. In addition, it solved many of the problems I encountered in the developing world such as water shortages, environmental conservation, malnutrition and unemployment.
Here’s the status. I am currently in Kenya, constructing our pilot aquaponics greenhouse in Nairobi. We have hired a Kenyan manager and identified a local business training organization that will oversee the entire project. In the spirit of collaboration we will provide training, technical expertise and business insight into the project but want our local team to take ownership of the project and reap many of the financial rewards. They will also provide insight into local markets, local business practices and extensive farming knowledge.
We believe this is a bold experiment. The results will not be in for several months, maybe even years but we believe that we have an excellent foundation to see this new business become successful. And if it is, we have a profitable business model to present to investors, businesses, non-profit organizations and governments around the world. Please see The Food Source website or Daniel’s blog to get updates as our pilot progresses. Thanks for reading!
Daniel Moore is a 25 year-old entrepreneur and traveler from who knows where. He gets to travel, write, meet interesting people, and hopefully make the world a better place. Currently, he works as an adventure tour guide in Colorado and builds aquaponics greenhouses in Africa. For more information, see his personal blog at danieljamesmoore.wordpress.com