Aquaponics - Update II

Since increasing the income, had our main focus, we tried a lot of things. The system is meant to increase the income of the centre, not to cost it, so not even reaching the break-even point is something to worry about. We started by creating a seasonal crop management plan. In this plan, we give guidelines on how certain crops should be treated and some of their ideal values, like the ideal growing temperature. We also looked at what kind of crops should be in this plan, by asking our customer for what kinds of crops she would pay the most.

We also had a meeting with a possible future customer. While this customer was not yet ready for cooperation, they are very interested and want to be updated on the status of the project. Our biggest focus, however, was the expansion of the system. We were able to expand the system to about twice the size it was before. Expanding the system will help to increase the yield and thus the profit.

Our final objective, looking at the continuity of the project, was also very important. Because external students are only present to the project three months a year, the other nine months, the project is left in the hands of the local supervisors. For increasing the continuity of the project, we wanted to create a committee, put together of students from different faculties of the local university. We made the first step by introducing the first local intern ever, a student from the agriculture faculty. Furthermore, we had meetings with a lot of different companies, who all helped us in different ways. By getting more people involved, the responsibilities can be divided amongst more people than just the two supervisors.

This project is really inspiring because it brings together a lot of people and really helps a local community get by. We feel like the project has, and should, not yet come to a halt and therefore we feel like it would be very useful to keep on sending new groups of students from the TU Delft there for several more years. Eventually, it would be great if the system could be used all over Africa, in multiple communities.

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