Integrated Wetland Aquaculture Feed (IWAF)
About the project
UK-registered Partner: Seawater Solutions Ltd – Chris Eccles
Africa-registered Partner: Challenges Malawi Limited – Phillip Chidawati
The Integrated Wetland Aquaculture Malawi project aimed to develop a novel fish feed from halophyte farming in Malawi using only saline water and salinised marginal land.
The project managed to achieve Malawi’s first halophyte farming facility which was set up with the guidance and support of local small-holder farmers in rural Chikwawa by using saline groundwater from an aquifer. The utilisation of groundwater negated the risk of relying on the rains which are becoming less frequent year by year, and the introduction of naturally salt loving plants (halophytes) meant that soils which were salt affected could be put back into production without the worry of damage to the crop.
Seawater Solution and Challenges Malawi engaged directly with local farmers and communities to gather baseline environmental data and develop an active farm which was planted with salt tolerant halophytes for the use of making an aquaculture feed.
Unfortunately, shortly after the crops were sown, Cyclone ‘Freddy’ hit the South of Malawi and caused extensive damage and loss of life in the region, including the farm we developed in Chikwawa. This has caused significant delay to the proposed fish feed trials, however they are now underway and both Seawater Solutions Challenges Malawi are committed to self-funding the continuation of the project until all of our objectives set out in the GCRF project are completed.
Additionally, Seawater Solutions has deemed that there is a significant potential for halophyte agriculture in the region and is planning to explore further scaling halophyte agriculture not just for local fish feed markets, but to replicate our other projects such as Kenya and include: livestock feed, biofuels, biorefining for cosmetic and pharmaceutical extractives, and carbon credits (which can serve as a financing tool on its own).