New cloud-based technology to boost Africa-based Yalelo’s aquaculture output

Published on
October 28, 2020

Lack of appropriate technology has been identified as one of the major challenges constraining the expansion and realization of Africa’s aquaculture potential, a trend that Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest fully-integrated aquaculture company Yalelo Limited is now determined to reverse in at least two markets on the continent.

The company – owned by FirstWave Group and a leading aquaculture firm comprised of Yalelo Zambia and Yalelo Uganda – announced on 21 October the launch of its integrated production management and business intelligence solution on the its AquaManager software platform. The new launch comes with a promise to support lower production costs for fish farmers, increase operational efficiencies, and improve profitability.

“The system enables both companies to optimize their fish production while driving improvements in environmental sustainability,” Yalelo Ltd., which has the largest fish pens in Africa, said.

Deployment of aquaManager’s aquaculture software solution enables farmers to manage, control, and monitor fish production at every phase in the production chain – making it possible to carry out administrative tasks and decision-making processes utilizing the collected and analyzed data.

Successful implementation of the AquaManager software technology “is an essential step towards the digitalization of the African aquaculture sector,”AquaManager Founder Kostas Seferis said.

With the new software solution, both Yalelo Zambia and Yalelo Uganda would now be able to collect data anytime at any location with the help of mobile devices and the web, and simultaneously use the same technology to convert the data into information that can support business decision making.

The generated information is also valuable when it comes to the improvement of feeding – and growth – of tilapia, the evaluation of food suppliers, and creation of fish production strategies, irrespective of the number of cages or tanks that are under production.

Yalelo, in partnership with the founders of AquaManager, successfully amalgamated the Yalelo Zambia and Yalelo Uganda software requirements in August, making it possible to “integrate the information systems of both geographies into a common cloud infrastructure.”

The technology has also made real-time monitoring of operations in both Zambia and Uganda, with more than 100 fish cages between them, possible.

 “We are proud to be the IT provider for such a project and work hand-in-hand with the people at Yalelo Zambia and Yalelo Uganda,” Seferis said.

According to project details by Yalelo, which grows tilapia in the open waters of Lake Kariba in Zambia, the innovation started with the migration of data from multiple legacy systems to the newly integrated cloud-based system that “is based on shared master data.”

“Successful aquaculture has a lot to do with effective management and analysis of data,” Seferis said. “Fish production is challenging, with many variables that can affect the profitability of the hatching and growing processes including temperature and water conditions along with cost factors.”

With AquaManager, Yalelo is now able to generate operational and management reports that are critical in monitoring and controlling fish production in both countries.

Zambia, where Yalelo is based, had previously reported increased production in tilapia surpassing 30,000 metric tons by 2016 and the new technology is likely to transform the country into a tilapia production hub in Sub-Saharan Africa.

With the new technology, Yalelo has the advantage of access to a modern business tool that eases aspects of cost and planning with an assurance for “information security, integrity, and validity.”

Additionally, fish farmers using the AquaManager solution can, with precision, determine the fish biomass and feeding processes, making it possible to not only understand “what’s happening in their production processes” but also “choose the best production strategies and select the best suppliers.”

“With the current deployment of AquaManager, we are running core operational processes and managing 123 cages in two locations, with data accessible by all staff,” FirstWave Group Co-CEO Bryan McCoy said. “The platform allows us daily visibility into operational performance in both geographies, integrates into Power BI for our customization of reports to business needs, and enables us to plan production in a detailed way to support customer demand. Ensuring a steady and increasing supply of fish to meet regional tilapia demand is our first priority, and AquaManager has equipped us with a tool for improved service delivery of supply.”

The AquaManager aquaculture production management tool comes to Sub-Saharan Africa when the African Union has expressed concern at the low contribution of aquaculture to the global production.

The union estimates the continent’s share of the global aquaculture production to be 2 percent “despite the potential and recognizable expansion of aquaculture in Africa.”

Aquaculture-producing union members have proposed increasing grants that support research by public-private partnerships at the regional and national level into the development and adaptation of modern technologies capable of solving challenges in Africa’s aquaculture value chain. 

Photo courtesy of Finnfund

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