HKA, led by Professor Hoinkis, has a team comprising Markus Kuttelwascher for administration in cooperation with partner Steinbeis Europa Zentrum, Talha Atiye for technical coordination, and Sneha De and Duc Dinh Ngoc for technical support in research and development. They oversee the setup and commissioning of living labs in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and report on their maintenance and optimisation.
Prof. Hoinkis explained that PrAEctiCe will use a holistic approach based on the water-energy-nutrient nexus in integrated aqua-agriculture (IAA) to support smallholder farmers in East Africa in their agroecological transition with novel agroecological indicators.
The project aims to demonstrate and validate agroecological practices in three living labs located in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. The project manager explained that they use wastewater treated with membrane bioreactors for aquaculture and drip irrigation of crops. This helps to save fresh water, minimise water usage and ensure that water reaches the roots of the plants more effectively. Moreover, they use solar photovoltaics as a renewable energy source to drive wastewater treatment and pumps for aquaculture and irrigation. This approach helps overcome frequent power outages, saves costs, and reduces the overall environmental impact of agricultural practices. The effluent from fish tanks or ponds provides nutrients for growing crops, while the application of biochar contributes to long-term soil health.
PrAEctiCe aims to engage women and young people by providing them with capacity building and training. Their participation is crucial as they offer unique perspectives, experiences, and knowledge that can contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of local contexts and challenges. In addition, their involvement can also lead to the development of innovative and context-specific solutions. “In numerous East African communities, women hold a pivotal role in agricultural activities and food production, including managing water and soil. The younger generation brings vitality, eagerness, and a willingness to embrace novel technologies and ideas. Their participation is crucial for successfully implementing agroecological practices that ensure long-term success,” Professor Hoinkis emphasised. In addition, engaging young people can promote agriculture as a viable and attractive career option, counter rural-urban migration, and revitalise rural communities by addressing youth unemployment.