Below is an email we received from Batho Matubudi from Botswana, a past attendee of our Aquaponics Master Class. His comments ring so true. Thank you, Batho, for sharing your thoughts and suggestions. You say it better that we could have.
“Hi Rebecca/John –
I thought I should catch up with you. One of the fundamental learnings I have had since leaving your Master Class of April 2013 is that trying to set-up Aquaponics from scratch without utilising a proven system is nothing but a recipe for disaster.
My business partner and I stand here today with essentially $270K down the drain. At the time we decided that obtaining a system from you would be expensive when we looked at the logistical implications and pricing parameters within our market. However, what we did not take into consideration was the opportunity cost of not starting on our best foot. In this instance, our best foot would have been starting with a system whose design was proven and all we had to do was grapple with management and following best practice. We built our own system utilising the little knowledge that we had gained from my attendance in class, the aquaponics book and other online sources. At best whilst our system was able to prove at a theoretical level that aquaponics as a farming practice works, our design was not efficient and did not meet any of the targets we had set for our-selves in this commercial venture.
When I look back, we could have spent the year penetrating our market becoming experts in the daily operations of aquaponics and we would have achieved a whole lot. I say this because without doubt, with our sub-par system, we still managed to generate a lot of interest and support for our initiative we just had the wrong set of tools.
All in all, hindsight does have 20/20 vision and we can only learn from our mistakes. I hope other individuals do not find themselves in the same boat as we did. We are now trying to salvage our losses and are looking for ways to correct our path to the one that we should have originally taken.
Going forward we will be looking at one of the larger commercial systems.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Batho B. Motubudi”