The shared objectives of both projects include a focus on circular water, energy, and nutrient systems that can enhance the financial viability of smallholder farms. The aim of their collaboration is to advocate best practices and increase the adoption of sustainable farming methods in the region.
BlueCycling is a collaborative research effort consisting of a team of researchers from six different countries. The project’s primary objective is to optimise waste and resource management to enhance the circular economy of aquaponic food production. Alyssa Joyce, an Associate Professor at the University of Gothenburgin Sweden, is leading the project and is also a member of the PrAEctiCe consortium.
During a recent visit to Uganda and Kenya, Alyssa Joyce strengthened the relationship between the two projects and facilitated the signing of an MOU between them. Dr. Erick Ogello, along with his graduate student Nicholas Outa from Maseno University, is working with Alyssa on both BlueCycling and PrAEctiCe projects. They have established an aquaponics system as a part of the BlueCycling project for training and research purposes. Meanwhile, a larger facility is currently being built in the PrAEctiCe project.
Some of the common topics that are currently being investigated include aquaponics. The circular economy aims to reduce losses by promoting the use of waste streams from one industry as input for another, thereby turning these waste streams into added value. Integrated aquaculture and horticulture, known as aquaponics, is a way to achieve the goals of the circular bioeconomy as it results in near-zero waste in terms of energy, water, and nutrients. One of the main challenges in aquaculture is the management of waste, which includes valuable nutrients that can be used as fertilizers for plants and crops.
It is possible to reduce, recycle, and reuse waste streams by connecting a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) to a hydroponic system to fertilize greenhouse crops. This combination of aquaculture and horticulture is a type of intensified production that can produce food using much less energy, water, and fertiliser than traditional types of farming. These systems are scalable, ranging from small backyard and community projects to large-scale industrial production.