Alumni Sonnia Musyoka applies gained knowledge in the field of aquaculture development

9. June 2021
APPEAR scholar and PhD candidate Sonnia Nzilani Musyoka in the conference hall of Hotel Kempinsky in Accra, Ghana
My research interests are in aquaculture development particularly the utilization of non-conventional feed sources for fish nutrition.

This specific research interest was kindled by personal challenges I faced when I first tried fish farming. I could barely break-even due to costly and scarce fish feeds. This was despite having several underutilized agro-industrial wastes, which if not treated pose great environmental and health concerns. After receiving a scholarship by APPEAR and with the supervision of Prof. Herwig Waidbacher and Prof. David Liti I was able to conduct my Ph.D. dissertation on “The potential of earthworm and agro-industrial wastes to replace conventional animal proteins sources in fish feed production”. I am very grateful because these studies improved my career advancement. Besides, the scholarship gave me a platform to link, network and share with a wide body of international experts.

The knowledge and skills which I gained in during PhD studies I do not only pass on to my students when I am teaching at my University. I also apply it in my own fish farm and in trainings with other aquaculture stakeholders with the aim of cutting costs and improving yields, thus promoting food security, socio-economic development and ecological balance. So far, I have been involved in training of aquaculture extension officers and model fish farmers in Machakos and Makueni County in Kenya and currently in Mwanza, Tanzania (through tailor-made trainings projects funded by the Dutch government) on sustainable aquaculture production.

Driven by my passion and the desire to restore degraded aquatic ecosystems, I also founded the NGO ”Kibwezi Wellwishers Center for Sustainability”. It promotes environmental conservation through tree planting, seedballs broadcasting, waste treatment and community empowerment. Through the NGO we have been able to plant over 1 million trees in a period of 4 years. It is my vision to have every human alive know their duty and obligation towards creating a conducive environment, since our environment is our responsibility.

Sonnia Nzilani Musyoka received her PhD from University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna. She is currently a Lecturer at South Eastern Kenya University, Kenya in the School of Environment, Water and Natural Resources, department of Hydrology and Aquatic Sciences. Currently she is part of two research consortia which she developed with former lecturers and students in four Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and Austria.