Fish farm in a container in the running for global award

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Cape Town’s Alan Fleming and Lungile Mafilika have made it to the final round of the global Empowering People Award, hosted by Siemens Stiftung.

Alan is the creator of the world’s first fish farm in a shipping container and the farm was selected from more than 800 entries from 90 countries. It is now competing with just 22 finalists and the winners will be announced at the end of October. You can review this and the other finalists and vote for the winners by clicking here. The patented micro-intensive farm is housed in a 40-foot shipping container. Containers have become synonymous with third world development. They are converted into houses, schools, banks, restaurants, cell phone recharge depots, hair salons, clinics and all sorts of other things. While a fish farm seems a stretch, it begins to make sense when you realise the potential of this invention.


Alan has a dream to bring “aquaculture”—and thereby protein and profit—to the world’s poor. It came about because every fish farm he visited was different in design. “Here’s the normal model: bring in a highly paid consultant to design the farm, automate it and grow fish,” he explains. But Alan changed that approach with a single design, repeated. This fish farm is lockable, transportable, affordable and profitable, with the aim to give the urban unemployed access to means of production right where they live, earn an income by farming and selling fish, bring affordable protein to Africa’s table and preserve our declining marine eco-system by growing fish in back yards.

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Most significantly, the standardization of this aquaculture model means it is easier to train new farmers. Lungile has been working with Alan from the start and runs the container like, well, a tight ship. Originally a gardener, Alan put Lungile through aquaculture training while working on the first prototype, and he is now the key figure in the future implementation of fish farms to wherever the concept may expand. This particular prototype can produce up to four tons of tilapia per year and Alan and Lungile are working on the second prototype. They are overjoyed by the recognition from Siemens and they are particularly excited about the new design which will have  much lower energy requirement and new tank designs producing more protein at a lower cost.

Looking at the finalists it is clear that this project is among some truly world changing initiatives. Show Alan and Lungile your support by clicking here and voting for this incredible initiative: Empowering People Award. 


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2 Responses to “Fish farm in a container in the running for global award”

  1. Greg Smith October 1, 2013 7:47 pm #

    Messers Alan Fleming and Lungile Mafilika,
    Good for you two. I think that your project is awesome and I sincerely hope that you win first prize.
    By the way, something that you may not have thought of: Your system is resistant against lightning, which wasn’t the case with a trout fish farm that I came across in Ficksburg, OFS some years ago. Because the tanks were out in the open veld, all the fish stock was killed by one bolt of lightning.
    Regards and best wishes,
    Greg Smith. (Cape Town)


  1. Fish farming in a shipping container - BRIGHT CONTINENT - September 25, 2013

    […] This project is now in the running for a global award. Read more about it by clicking here. […]

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