Gishanda Fish Farm opens at Akagera National Park in Rwanda
The farm will serve as a source of quality tilapia fingerlings and will boost both tilapia and catfish farming in the region.
Gishanda fish farm is a project supported by the Rwandan and the Netherlands governments, a consortium of Dutch private companies, Akagera National Park, and FoodTechAfrica (FTA), which previously put on track the first Rwandan RAS farm in Bugesera in 2019.
Located ten kilometers from Akagera National Park’s main gate, Gishanda Fish Farm will introduce innovation and new skills to accelerate aquaculture development in Rwanda, providing employment opportunities to surrounding communities and delivering an accessible source of protein to combat local nutritional deficits.
Modern fish farming to produce tilapia fingerlings
Utilizing recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) and solar technology, which will reduce farm’s energy costs and environmental impacts, Gishanda will serve as a source of quality tilapia fingerlings and will boost both tilapia and catfish farming in the region as an accessible protein source for communities. Moreover, Gishanda will serve as a model of circular agriculture through the utilization of farm effluent for fertilization.
The Rwandan government recognizes the need to invest in food security to reduce malnutrition and dependency on food imports, while also creating job opportunities and upskilling. “Gishanda Fish Farm and the RAS system of sustainable farming embodies many of the principles that will enable Rwanda to achieve its long-term vision for becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2035 and a high-income country by 2050. Sustainable agriculture, particularly aquaculture, is an area of strategic focus to simultaneously address food security and to build the sector into a key national economic contributor. Gishanda fish farm’s role as a source of quality inputs and education positions it well within this strategy,” said Gerardine Mukeshimana, minister of agriculture and animal resources for the Republic of Rwanda.
Gishanda will achieve a production capacity of 30 tonnes of 350-500 grams of tilapia per year of which at least 10% will be supplied locally to combat local nutritional deficits.
“It may seem an unusual move for a conservation organization to be building and running a fish farm. However, our goal at African Parks is to leave a legacy of sustainability, for both communities and wild places. Gishanda makes perfect sense, sustainable land use, biodiversity conservation, and improving community lives,” said Ladis Ndahiriwe, park manager of Akagera National Park.
In addition, the fish farm is expected to produce 1-1.5 million tilapia fingerlings. While 10% will be retained for the farm, 1 million will be sold to boost Rwandan tilapia farming and the rest will be used for re-stocking lakes in the region, generating locally viable sources of protein and economic growth on a national scale.
Beyond the companies’ support, the project was made possible by generous co-funding from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) and SHV. SHV subsidiary Nutreco Middle East and Africa and Skretting will act as sponsors and feed partners for the aqua farming activities.
“We are proud to announce today’s partnership with African Parks, and, in particular, our close collaboration with SHV. Together, we will put Nutreco’s purpose of Feeding the Future into place, in a region that requires more sustainable protein sources,’’ said Fulco van Lede, Nutreco’s CEO.
Contribution to the sustainable socio-economic development of the region
Gishanda will hire locals, bring electricity to two villages, water to a school, and provide local farmers with a low-cost nutrient-rich effluent fertilizer as well.
“Supporting and educating people to ensure a better future is a perfect fit with the SHV purpose – ‘Courage to care for generations to come’. Throughout our history of more than 125 years, we have always cared for people and communities in all parts of the world in which we operate. We are proud that because of our support this project can be realized. Teaming up with Nutreco makes it even more valuable as it clearly shows what SHV can do if we join forces within our family of companies,” concluded Ricardo Kandelman, executive board director at SHV.