Dorcas Lukwesa’s Mobile, Sustainable Farms

by Abigail Richardson from MY HERO

Early in 2021, Dorcas Lukwesa won the Resolution Social Venture Challenge (SVC) at Mastercard Foundation’s Baobab Summit for her project, Mobile Aquaponics — a social venture dedicated to providing a resilient response to climate change, promoting food security under climate crisis and reducing poverty in Zambia.

Lukwesa grew up on her grandparent's farm in Zambia and now she's building a social enterprise there around movable smart gardens made of bamboo for farmers with limited space, limited soil, and less water. Her ingenious system blends fish farming and vegetable production, using organic waste from the fish instead of expensive fertilizer. It is geared to be built with locally available, sustainable materials and suits any land type.

146709Dorcas LukwesaTwitterLukwesa, explains: “My mobile aquaponics concept is a compartment system - it contains a tank for fish, and a compartment for growing vegetables and the water it uses gets recycled... The water with the fish excrement passes around the system, providing nutrients for the vegetables, and is then returned into the fish tank. The whole concept promotes fish and vegetable farming while recycling the water, so closing the cycle in the production system.”

The system will also help battle climate change: “Promoting systems of farming like aquaponics is very important [to tackle the] climate crisis because it uses 90% less water than traditional agriculture, is 70% more productive, does not require soil, does not have weeds, has fewer pests, and can be built at any scale anywhere in the world using available resources like bamboo,” Lukwesa explained.

Along with promoting sustainability, Mobile Aquaponics plans to support women farmers. “We project to reach over 2,000 rural women farmers over the next five years. We hope that our farmers will be able to replicate the idea by building their own aquaponics systems using locally available bamboo and improving agricultural production and livelihoods so that no girl will spend a term out of school because of lack of school fees or a uniform,” informed Lukwesa.

Lukwesa hopes her concept helps reduce poverty in Zambia and her urban farm become a model there.

“My plan is to replicate the system in my rural community back in Zambia to improve the sustainability of food production and nutrition in marginalized communities,” she said. “I also plan to work with other female smallholder farmers to incubate this idea at CAMFED’s climate-smart demonstration farm in Chinsali, Zambia, training young women to farm fresh fish and vegetables locally, sustainably and using local natural resources.”

Page created on 1/3/2022 6:08:01 PM

Last edited 1/4/2022 10:07:47 AM

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Related Links

The Resolution Project - Resolution Fellow at The Resolution Project
Mobile Aquaponics - Founder