UniTan Aquafarms was formed in 2013 by Nelson R. Mmbando and his partners Robert King’ori and Austin Bono. UniTan’s goal is the promotion of sustainable agriculture through the use of aquaponic gardening. Our campaign will begin in Tanzania with the goal of spreading to the rest of east Africa including the countries of Kenya and Uganda.
The project started as an independent senior thesis project for Nelson Mmbandos’ B.S in Environmental Science at California State University Sacramento (CSUS). All of the initial experiments were conducted at Nelson’s house in Sacramento Ca. It all started with this small A-frame design termed the A-frame Deep Water Culture Column (ADWCC for short).
While a very simple design on the surface, the aim of the experiment was to look at the different parameters of aquaponics and measure its sustainability in terms of resource consumption and the various inputs required during its operation.
Upon conclusion of the experiment, aquaponics indeed showed it was efficient in terms of water usage and in quickly growing vegetables to harvestable sizes. Sometimes quicker than traditional soil growth! It was here that we considered the fact aquaponics could have a promising future for developing countries across the world. It’s low water usage is well suited to drought-plagued climates where reliable water sources and irrigation are scarce.
While it started off as merely a curiosity, Nelson Mmbando, CEO of UniTan Aquafarms, decided to experiment with the possibility of a larger system in a greenhouse setting using the same principles and techniques developed in the ADWCC system. With the help of Robert King’ori, he discovered that the principles used in his A-frame Deep Water Culture Column scaled very well from the humble A-frame design into a 1000 gallon aquaponic garden using almost 200 feet of PVC pipe and more than 100 fish!
In the meantime, using this existing system UniTan Aquafarms has been successfully producing organic vegetables for local citizens as well as a few food banks and restaurants in our area. Our company has also been able to design and produce systems for individuals who want to learn and use this technology to produce wholesome, organically-grown food for their family and friends.
UniTan Aquafarms is now on its third phase of expansion: the introduction of two large commercial plants in Tanzania and Sacramento. These facilities will be state of the art containing a fully functioning, commercial aquaponic farm for the harvest of both edible crops and fish. They will be powered by sustainable energy sources and contain teaching facilities and a tour center for students and locals to give them an opportunity to learn about what aquaponics is, how it works, and how it can help them improve their lives.