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All African Farmers’ Empowerment Operations Summit kicks off

The 2nd and 3rd All African Farmers’ Empowerment Operations Summit kicks off today (23 October) in Kempton Park, South Africa (SA).

The summit seeks to address the challenges of food security and poverty alleviation across Africa and to support the African Union Commission’s Agenda 2063.

The aim is to boost food security training and knowledge transfer to increase African farmers’ competitiveness in the world economy through the creation of entrepreneurial farmers. They further seek to train and empower participants who have an interest in large-scale farming across the African continent.

“Our first three days of the summit will border around sustainable aquaculture breeding and advancement management towards achieving food security on the African continent. Aquaculture and poultry sustainability are essential parts of the solution to the African Union’s 54 States’ food security achievement. Aquaculture is known as aqua farming and it involves the farming of aquatic organisms such as fish, crustaceans, molluscs and aquatic plants.

It also borders around cultivating fresh- and saltwater population under controlled conditions, and can be contrasted with commercial fishing, which is the harvesting of wild fish. We also have something termed mari-culture which refers to aquaculture practiced in marine environments and in underwater habitats.

“Through the summit we will conduct practical exercises around commercial fish and poultry farms to give attendees an opportunity to experience for themselves the practical components of poultry breeding and aquaculture. The tests will include testing and understanding water quality variables and their interactions, as well as different methods of conveying testing.

“Breeding a range of fish species including egg layers, livebearers and mouth brooders, identifying fish parasites and pathogens, and deciding how best to treat them will also be on offer. We will also expose them to feeding fish, infrastructure management for optimal production, stock management and record keeping – what, how, where to store it and how to interpret the data. They will realise how aquaponic fish farming is made easy as we are aiming at raising mass fish to meet rising Africans demand,” said dr. Olusanjo Peters, organiser.

Poultry and fish

He also highlighted that they intend to support South Africa’s Chief Directorate of Aquaculture and Economic Development in developing a sustainable and competitive sector in SA.

“We have some countries and places where you cannot get land to plant crops or rear animals, but have water in abundance like streams, dams and seas. We need to utilise such places for aquaculture just like we do with crop farming and rearing animals. This process can help improve our food security as a continent. We cannot keep relying on importing food while we can actual produce it for ourselves,” added Peters.

The summit will also address challenges faced by poultry farmers. South Africa is currently affected by an outbreak of the highly contagious H5N8 avian influenza virus, which is a threat to its poultry industry. “During the summit, our discussions will address poultry veterinary health systems, poultry anatomy and how it relates to poultry diseases, the basic principles of poultry diseases and on-farm food safety.

“We are aiming to help farmers to understand the guide to differential diagnosis in poultry production, along with identifying problems on the farm and their influencing factors. We are looking to also address complete poultry breeding, bio-security control systems, and full disease outbreak management control,” said Peters.

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