In 2017, INTAG was engaged by the World Bank, through the Nigeria State Education Program Investment Project (SEPIP), to complete a feasibility study on the application of aquaponic growing systems as a tool for increasing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in schools in Ekiti State, Nigeria, and to facilitate workforce development and skills training programs in which students could receive training in areas ranging from aquaculture and greenhouse growing, to plumbing, electrical utilities, engineering, and others.
The culmination of INTAG’s work in Ekiti State centers around a 3,000 square foot aquaponic facility in Ekiti State, Nigeria, that was constructed in November 2018, in partnership with CBC, a technology and engineering firm in Lagos, Nigeria.
This INTAG aquaponic facility helps the Nigeria Federal Ministry of Education meet its goals to increase Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) learning for students enrolled at the Governor’s Gifted School. In addition to providing real-world training opportunities for students, this facility serves as a best-in-class model of sustainable farming practices to be replicated across Ekiti State, Nigeria, and West Africa as a whole. The facility that INTAG constructed in Ekiti State utilizing INTAG’s patented biodigestion process to utilize the sludge waste from tilapia tanks for cultivating a variety of vegetative and fruiting crops for consumption while utilizing only a small percentage of water and land relative to conventional growing methods. Additionally, this aquaponic system is not as susceptible to seasonal fluctuations of rainfall and temperatures, allowing for year-round food production.
Aquaponic growing environments bring a full spectrum of academic pursuits into unison around the tangible and immediate benefit of growing food. Biology, chemistry, math and engineering concepts meet practical job skills in agriculture, plumbing, electrical systems, construction, and small business. Furthermore, caring for fish and plants, while incorporating anchor educational concepts has been shown to increase student engagement and curiosity in learning. Furthermore, the unique proximity of conceptual higher learning to practical and vocational education that occurs in the ‘living laboratory’ of an aquaponic growing environment.
INTAG’s workforce development solutions employ innovative models for delivering technical and vocational training content to develop skills in modern food, agriculture, and related technologies, turning our Integrated Agriculture sites into powerful learning environments. Project-based learning combined with diverse and relevant technologies provides students and trainees from any background, with a rare ‘talent ramp’ for developing both entry-level and advanced skill sets in an unusually cross-functional setting.