By: Erick NUNDA, Technical Advisor and Certified Knowledge Manager for Sustainable Development.
Agriculture in Africa has a massive social and economic footprint to improve livelihoods and grow the economy. Agriculture holds enormous potential for jobs creation among Africa's burgeoning young population and consequently transforming the continent's economy. However, African youths are yet to realize the profitable opportunities agriculture offers, as a source of earning sustainable livelihoods, hence the low-level of youth involvement in agriculture.
The outcome of the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) continental Agri-youth engagement workshop carried out under the Strategic Engagements and Capacity Development of Youth in Agri-preneurship for Technology Adoption, on 02 – 04 May 2019, focused on a practical and realistic action plan on strengthening youth initiatives for technology deployment. The Fish Value Chain Opportunity interested YPARD DRC (young professionals for agricultural development) and this opportunity has been capitalized through the fish production in the fishponds (5 ponds) in the territory of Walungu in the East of the country. In the context of new technology Adoption in the fish farming, a new opportunity presented itself to YPARD DRC in the Eastern part of the country (YPARD DRC/South Kivu). It should be noted that the Eastern and Southeastern part of the DRC are strategic regions for good fish farming production as they abound in huge wetlands with a good number of bays suitable for aquaculture adopting new technologies for intensive fish farming.
In order to improve Tilapia fish production in Lake Kivu through floating cage fish farming, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), through the Tilapia Cage Pilot Project (PPTC-SK), aims to improve fish farmers' access to fingerlings, fish farmers' access to locally produced fish feeds, increase the added value of the different products along the Tilapia value chain and ensure capacity building.
YPARD DRC seized this opportunity and is one of the youth networks benefiting from the Pilot Project for Caged Tilapia (PPTC-SK). The PPTC-SK project aims to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of young people because they are the link in the development of developing countries due to their strength and dynamism. This project aims to reduce the rate of food imports by making fish products accessible to all social strata in the city of Bukavu in particular and in the D.R. Congo in general.
Located at S02°29.851' and E02°51.398', YPARD DRC has a floating cage of 144 m³ with 3 compartments of 6m² each and a capacity to acquire 10,000 fry for each compartment. In practice, the project foresees a production in a floating cage on Lake Kivu of approximately 10,000 Tilapia fish every six months, and thus to make this product available on the market of the city of Bukavu and its surroundings. This half-yearly production makes it possible to restore stability on the market while ensuring the availability of Tilapia (locally produced). The import rate of fish products will thus be reduced. It should be noted that in the city of Bukavu, the vast majority of fish consumers prefer locally produced fish to imported fish. The production chain will therefore start from fry rearing to the production of adult Tilapia, through an organic production of fresh Tilapia every 6 months, this through the normal production chain of Tilapia, which results in a product of average weight of 0.7 kilograms.
YPARD DRC is therefore actively involved in fulfilling YPARD's mandate to create the next generation of agricultural leaders, thinkers and entrepreneurs, to address critical development issues and to create better access to resources for young food system leaders. YPARD DRC is also working to overcome the challenges of a growing lack of interest in agriculture, insufficient participation of young professionals in dialogues on critical development issues and inadequate access to resources to address these issues.
Through the capitalization of this new technology of floating cage fish production, which is knowledge that YPARD DRC has captured through IITA and the Fund for the Promotion of Industry (FPI), the next step is to ensure the transferability and sharing of this knowledge across the entire stratum of DRC's youth.
To better capture this knowledge and its good management to young professionals for agricultural development in DRC, YPARD DRC, through its member Erick NUNDA trained as Certified Knowledge Manager for Sustainable Development in the KM4AgD Challenge programme organized by FARA and K4DP, plans to organize various activities based on the seven topics of the action points for the implementation of the Akosombo Integration Agenda : Knowledge Management Approaches, KM Tools, Knowledge Resource, KM Processes, Communities of Practice, KM Capacity Development, Knowledge Ecosystems for AR4D.
The transferability of this knowledge will allow YPARD DRC to be innovative and keep up with the latest technological trends necessary for the growth and development of the agricultural sector in DRC.