Young Entrepreneurs Are Teaching, Sharing and Inspiring African Aquaculture Market Development

Nov 23, 2021

As his business grows, Jerry Mang’ena is looking to build on its success by working with other young entrepreneurs and sharing his story on social media.

Jerry Mang’ena founded Aqua-Farms Organization to respond to food security issues in Tanzania and Africa. He later funded Aqua-Farms Hatcheries to support the 20 million fish seed gap in his country. Since founding his company in 2016, Jerry estimates Aqua-Farms is now producing 1.2 million fingerlings per year, roughly 10% of Tanzania’s fingerling production. With plans to grow even larger, Mang’ena is not stopping there.

Aqua-Farms is a science-based company led by youth. The 27-year-old Mang’ena says he believes that the best way to increase production across the continent is to reach younger leaders. He believes young people like the ones at his company will fuel the future of aquaculture development and soy trade in the developing world. He has lofty goals to reach more people across Africa and tell them about the success of Aqua-Farms, as well as inspire them to take action on solving hunger issues. Through WISHH and his own innovative spirit, he’s doing just that.

Mang’ena began his relationship with WISHH when the organization supported his attendance to virtual training events with aquaculture experts. Through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Market Development (FMD) and Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) programs, Mang’ena learned from professors at Texas A&M through the university’s Aquaculture Feed Extrusion, Nutrition & Feed Management Course. A tutor himself at the University of Dar es Salaam, he credits his training as formative in his success today.

“All of this started because of the U.S. State Department’s Mandela Washington Fellowship Program, Mang’ena explains. “I met professor Amrit Bart at University of Georgia who understood my ideas to build the best hatcheries program in Tanzania. He referred me to WISHH, and that connection has really helped me in key areas.”

Mang’ena says WISHH has supported him through international connections to other entrepreneurs, technical support, and trainings.

Now, the future for Mang’ena is working with young people to both inspire and learn from them—and his outreach is on a roll. Mang’ena figured out an innovative method to reach other entrepreneurs and members of the aquaculture community through the social media app Clubhouse.

“I’ve used Clubhouse to promote the work being done around aquaculture in Africa. Also, it’s about teaching and sharing,” Mang’ena explains. “I realized conversations in this space were happening interactively, and we all can learn from each other.”

Mang’ena fostered conversations around feeds, challenges and future opportunities in food security in the digital space, where he was eventually noticed by Marine Diaries, a U.K.-based ocean science and conservation nonprofit. The organization asked him to speak to its international audience on the work he does in aquaculture. He loves the idea of sharing his knowledge with others, and credits WISHH for boosting his business and expertise.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, aquaculture is the fastest-growing segment of the feed industry, with production expected to grow to 109 million metric tons by 2030, an increase of 32% compared with 2018.

Clearly, young aquaculturalists like Mang’ena are vital to catching this future potential. As for Mang’ena, he plans to continue to use social media to broadcast his work with WISHH.

“I want to continue to work with WISHH to create a reliable supply chain for feed in aquaculture,” Mang’ena says. “I plan on expanding my outreach to other parts of Tanzania and around the Great Lakes Region in Africa.”