Synergy Cultivation of
Fish & Greens

At desertfoods we aim to address food security by combined synergy cultivation of fish & greens. Desertfoods runs climate-smart decoupled multi-loop aquaponic farms on a massive large scale by using natural resources wisely.

The Problem

Climate change, desertification of farmland, food security, food safety, and water shortages are at the centre of worldwide awareness with a sensitive nature, in particular across arid and semi-arid environments.

As such, feeding the planet’s increasing population while the resources are finite remains a major global aim to solve.

In short, production of high-quality, year-round food with ultra-high efficiency is one of the utmost priorities for the time to come.

The opportunity

In line with the global aims, consumer behaviour is shifting towards locally harvested, ultra-fresh, organic, and healthy food. Today, this sub-sector is already the catalyst of the entire food security industry with flourishing prospects for the next decades.

We are currently already running a medium-tech multi-loop aquaponics system in Kenya, partnering up with Carrefour.

However, the booming climate offers tremendous market opportunities for smart farming and harvesting concepts that manage to meet the raising demand for locally produced nutritious food while safeguarding the world’s environment.

Our solution

  • At desertfoods we aim to address food security by combined synergy cultivation of fish & greens.
  • Desertfoods runs both high-end and low-budget climate-smart aquaponic farms by using natural resources wisely.
  • Desertfoods’ decoupled multi-loop aquaponics system combines the most advanced sub-elements of hydroponics and aquaculture technologies ensuring optimal and stable growth conditions for both fish and crops.
  • Desertfoods is highly science-backed with migration of a field proven numerical modelling approach that is continuously enhanced in close collaboration with world-class universities and research institutes.
  • Desertfoods’ farming solution allows for sustainable all year food produce and delivers predictable and controllable supplies on a massive large scale.
  • Delivering turn-key farming and white-label solutions for third-party vendors.

Namibia first

The location of desertfoods’ high-end debut farm was carefully selected with striking arguments
ultimately triggering our “Namibia First” decision, amongst others:

1

Namibia remains on frontline of drought battle with the least rainfall of any country in the sub-Sahara Africa.

2

Namibia enjoys political stability and economic prosperity while still being hit with major challenges in breaking away from South Africa’s food dependence.

3

Namibia’s sustained efforts in establishing a strong local food and agriculture eco-system particularly fostered by the National Horticulture Development Initiative.

Desertfoods’ starts with a production area of 1.5 ha. Our high-end facility will be commissioned in spring 2020 with annual output exceeding 1,300 tons of greens & vegetables and 70 metric tons of freshwater fish. This corresponds to ramp-up production efficiency of 80 percent. The site shall be extended to 4.4 ha by end of operational year three.

Our Vision

Our maxim is to revolutionize food security by proving that nutrient and water efficient systems are location-independent along with the claim to boost local food-independence and to impart domestic farming skills.

We will intensify existing collaborations and form new partnerships with both international and local universities and research institutes with the aim of fortifying the two-way interaction of science and technology, while focussing on local education, too.

Our vision is to become the market leader for innovative, climate-resilient, and resource-friendly farming systems generating premium, natural, pure, fresh, and above all secure flavour products.

desertfoods – the new era of smart farming

The innovation

Our desert-tech system comprises several innovations that are required to revolutionise the agriculture industry:

  • We have designed the world’s first numerical aquaponics simulator that is based on an empirically proven MATLAB model.
  • Sensor enabled automated real-time control and decision support IoT capabilities.
  • The multi-loop approach optimzes both nutrient-efficiencies and growth rates.
  • Our closed-to-close system only requires a marginal fraction of fresh water compared to conventional agriculture.
  • Waste stream reduction by implementation of a two-stage bioreactor system.
  • Our technology is patent-pending.
  • Strong alignment with SDG 2030 agenda (see below) qualifying desertfoods as impact project case.
  • The farm will be fed by solar PV and solar thermal systems and hence operate fully autonomously.

Meeting SDGs

Even though our business approach is profit-oriented, we are convinced that impact and benefits go hand in hand. By having an attractive business case, there are means available for us to make a change for the better. Both environmental and social impact are not only technology related, but tightly anchored to the company’s vision for the world’s future.

We identified 8 Sustainable Development Goals (United Nations) that desertfoods will meet in particular:

1. ZERO HUNGER

Decreasing hunger by producing high-quality food.

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Our multi-loop aquaponics system grows food in a controlled environment and can thus ensure products of the highest quality at a tremendous and continuous productivity level.

2. GOOD HEALTH AND
WELL-BEING

High quality food for a better health.

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The vegetables, fruits, and fish are cultivated organically in our system and are rich in nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. In addition,  a short supply-chain results in a limited loss of vitamins.

3. QUALITY EDUCATION

Knowledge-exchange and on-site education program.

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A consortium of international and local research partners will be involved in this project on-site. This collaboration will lead to new scientific knowledge and highly trained employees and research staff.

4. DECENT WORK AND
ECONOMIC GROWTH

Revolutionizing World’s agricultural sector.

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Our innovative technology will bring Namibia and other African countries to a completely new level of cultivating fish and vegetables. Our highly efficient growing and resource use processes can turn food-importing into food-exporting countries as well as generating jobs. Also additional pressure on market-prices will allow more and more people to follow a healthier diet.

5. Industry, innovation, infrastructure

Pioneering desert-tech farming solution.

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Our system is the most water- and nutrient-efficient growing system in the world. By recycling all possible waste-flows within the system, this close-to-closed environment has the highest possible input efficiency at a very high conversion efficiency. The implementation of this desert-tech will show that deserts will be the food producing areas of the future.

6. Responsible consumption
and production

We just got one world. Let’s treat it well.

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To us, responsible production means using few natural resources to create as much high-quality produce as possible. For that reason, we have developed a two-stage reactor system that transforms aquaculture-derived waste into biogas and biofertilizer.

7. Climate Action

Shift food production to the desert – save the jungle.

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Producing food on arable land means that less species-rich jungles ought to be cleared to meet the world food needs. In our case, we also want to make use of the sun, using its free energy to provide our system with electricity and heating/cooling power.

8. Life Below Water

Saving the oceans, growing fish on shore.

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Fish will be a more and more important protein source in the future than it already is. This is due to the fact that fish (as well as insects) have very low feed convertion ratios; i.e. to grow 1kg of body weight they need around the same amount of feed. However, to prevent the  overfishing in the oceans, we need to shift the fish production on land into so-called recirculating aquaculture systems.

Leadership team

  • Dr. Simon Goddek
    Dr. Simon Goddek CTO

    Scientific researcher and ecopreneur in aquaponics

  • Thomas Heuer
    Thomas Heuer CEO

    Entrepreneurial experiences of 15+ years

  • Dr. Oliver Körner
    Dr. Oliver Körner Scientific Advisor

    Scientist with international experience in greenhouse horticulture

  • Riaan Theron
    Riaan Theron Country Manager Namibia

    Deep-rooted local farming experiences with a strong eco-system

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