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Aquaculture and vegetables Integration System Integrated Aquaculture and Agriculture Systems

Aquaculture and Crops system for better yield

The "Integrated Aquaculture and Agriculture Systems" is like a teamwork between fish and plants. It puts fish tanks or ponds close to fields or greenhouses. This way, the water and nutrients from the fish can also be used to help the plants grow. The fish waste turns into food for the plants, and the plants help keep the water clean for the fish. It's like a natural cycle that saves money on food and helps both fish and crops grow better. It's a clever way to get more out of both fish farming and crop growing.


This technology is TAAT1 validated.


Scaling readiness: idea maturity 9/9; level of use 9/9

2,000 USD

annual maintenance cost for 0.5 ha

50-100 USD

one square metter of hydroponic plastic beds

2,466 USD

average net income per acre

250,000 USD

for 0.5 ha of fully equipped aquaponic system


Open source / open access


  • Depleted soil: Over time, African agricultural lands have lost nutrients, leading to lower crop yields and reliance on costly external inputs.
  • Limited land: Many African countries have limited areas suitable for farming, making expansion difficult.
  • Water competition: Farmers and fishers can clash over shared resources like water.
  • Food insecurity: Limited access to affordable protein-rich food to meet needs for growing populations.
  • Feed cost: High costs associated with feeding fish in traditional farming methods.


  • Natural Fertilizer: Turns waste into wealth by using fish waste as natural fertilizer, reducing reliance on expensive external solutions.
  • Double Duty Land: Integrates fish and crop production, maximizing output on the same piece of land.
  • Water Reuse: Promotes water efficiency by using the same water for both fish and crops.
  • Protein on the Farm: Boosts protein access by incorporating fish farming, providing an affordable protein source.
  • Alternative Fish Feed: Reduces fish feed costs by utilizing byproducts from crop production as alternative fish food.

Key points to design your business plan

For farmers:

To integrate aquaponics in your farming system and enjoy a more productive, sustainable, and resource-efficient African farm, follow these indications: 

  • Master aquaponics principles (water cycle, nutrient conversion).
  • Research fish & plant varieties suited for your region and market.
  • Seek training from experienced aquaponic practitioners.
  • Choose a location with good sunlight, water access, and proper drainage.
  • Design your system with appropriate fish tank size, grow beds, and biofilter.
  • Consider consulting an agricultural engineer for optimal design.
  • Develop a budget for essential components (fish tank, liner, pump, etc.).
  • Explore used or locally sourced materials for cost-effectiveness.
  • Procure healthy fish stock and high-quality seeds for hydroponic crops.
  • Monitor water quality for fish and plant health (pH, ammonia, nitrates/nitrites).
  • Manage nutrients through monitoring and water changes if necessary.
  • Develop a fish feeding strategy using slow-release aquaponic food.
  • Establish a plan for fish harvesting and marketing.
  • Conduct market research to understand local preferences and pricing.
  • Identify buyers and establish marketing channels for your products.
  • Develop a plan for transporting and storing perishable fish and crops.
  • Research and comply with any permits or regulations for aquaponics in your area.

Positive or neutral impact

Adults 18 and over
Positive high
The poor
Positive high
Under 18
No impact
Positive high

Positive or neutral impact

Climate adaptability
It adapts really well
It helps them grow and thrive
Carbon footprint
It reduces emissions a lot
It doesn't make a difference
Soil quality
It makes the soil healthier and more fertile
Water usage
It uses a lot less water

Countries with a green colour
Tested & adopted
Countries with a bright green colour
Countries with a yellow colour
Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia Algeria Angola Benin Botswana Burundi Burkina Faso Democratic Republic of the Congo Djibouti Côte d’Ivoire Eritrea Gabon Gambia Ghana Guinea Guinea-Bissau Cameroon Kenya Libya Liberia Madagascar Mali Malawi Morocco Mauritania Mozambique Namibia Niger Nigeria Republic of the Congo Rwanda Zambia Senegal Sierra Leone Zimbabwe Somalia South Sudan Sudan South Africa Eswatini Tanzania Togo Tunisia Chad Uganda Western Sahara Central African Republic Lesotho
Countries where the technology has been tested and adopted
Country Tested Adopted
Benin Not tested Adopted
Botswana Not tested Adopted
Burkina Faso Not tested Adopted
Burundi Not tested Adopted
Cameroon Not tested Adopted
Central African Republic Not tested Adopted
Côte d’Ivoire Not tested Adopted
Democratic Republic of the Congo Not tested Adopted
Equatorial Guinea Not tested Adopted
Ethiopia Not tested Adopted
Ghana Not tested Adopted
Kenya Not tested Adopted
Liberia Not tested Adopted
Madagascar Not tested Adopted
Niger Not tested Adopted
Nigeria Not tested Adopted
Rwanda Not tested Adopted
Senegal Not tested Adopted
Sierra Leone Not tested Adopted
South Sudan Not tested Adopted
Sudan Not tested Adopted
Tanzania Not tested Adopted
Togo Not tested Adopted
Uganda Not tested Adopted
Zambia Not tested Adopted
Zimbabwe Not tested Adopted

This technology can be used in the colored agro-ecological zones. Any zones shown in white are not suitable for this technology.

Agro-ecological zones where this technology can be used
AEZ Subtropic - warm Subtropic - cool Tropic - warm Tropic - cool

Source: HarvestChoice/IFPRI 2009

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals that are applicable to this technology.

Sustainable Development Goal 2: zero hunger
Goal 2: zero hunger
Sustainable Development Goal 3: good health and well-being
Goal 3: good health and well-being
Sustainable Development Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Goal 8: decent work and economic growth
Sustainable Development Goal 11: sustainable cities and communities
Goal 11: sustainable cities and communities
Sustainable Development Goal 13: climate action
Goal 13: climate action

  1. Fish tanks or ponds are placed close to fields or greenhouses.
  2. Water and nutrients from the fish tanks or ponds are used to help plants grow.
  3. Fish waste acts as natural food for the plants, and the plants help keep the water clean for the fish.
  4. This creates a cycle where both fish and crops benefit from each other.
  5. The system saves money on expensive fish feed and maximizes the use of water and nutrients.
    It's like a teamwork between fish and plants to make farming more efficient and productive.

Last updated on 22 May 2024