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Cooling with the sun

Gönna Ketels
May 17, 2018

Overfishing on Africa's Lake Victoria has left many local fishermen struggling to survive. Two Kenyan siblings want to revive the industry with an environmentally friendly fish farm and solar energy.

Fishermen in Kenya
Image: DW/G. Ketels

A startup for fresh fish in Kenya


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Project aim: Improving refrigeration and air conditioning in developing countries by developing a network that promotes cooperation between firms in industrialized, emerging and developing economies
Project size: Cooling technologies around the world are being supported
Project financing: Around €3.75 million (US$4.44 million) as part of the  "Green Cooling Initiative"
Project timeframe: 2012 to October 2018
Project partners: The Kenyan environment ministry and climate protection organizations in partner countries, International Climate Initiative (IKI)

In the good old days on Africa's Lake Victoria, Kenyan fishermen say they regularly pulled gigantic Nile perch from its waters. But those days are long over. Numerous fish processing factories have shut down, leaving many around the continent's largest lake unemployed.

Michelle and Gilbert Mbeo from Mfangano Island on the eastern part of the lake are trying to revive the industry with their startup, Lake View Fisheries. The siblings want to bring fresh tilapia to the plates of millions of people in Kenya with sustainable fish farming. But to do so, they need reliable refrigeration — something that's hard to come by on an island with scant electricity.

With the help of German development agency, GIZ, the entrepreneurs are building solar-powered cooling systems that could help the whole island. Small fishermen will be able to store their catch there too.

A film by Gönna Ketels

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