Paul Westwood’s journey started over a decade ago, studying agriculture on a farm in rural Argentina. Well-studied in hydroponic food production, his path took a pivotal turn while working in the mountains of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where he watched as the 2009 Honduran Constitutional Crisis lead to the inability for central american hydroponic growers to receive shipments of nutrient solutions, resulting in loss of crops, and facility closures.
Standing on a small patch of grass between an abandoned hydroponic greenhouse and an earthen tilapia pond, Paul turned his research toward designing aquaponic systems that could feed people around the globe, while minimizing waste-discharge, decreasing water consumption, and cutting dependency on outside inputs.
In 2014, Paul Westwood traveled to East Africa as an agricultural development and agro-business consultant to the Republic of Kenya’s State Department of Fisheries, and the Republic of Uganda’s Ministry of Agriculture.
The chief focus of his work in East Africa was conducting feasibility studies related to formulating fish feeds from agro-industrial wastes, and the implementation of engineered wetlands for processing aquaculture and manure sludge into crop fertilizer. His experiences in Uganda would later become the frame-work on which Paul would build his patented aerobic digestion process in 2018.
In 2015, after conducting site assessments and advising CEA implementations in Armenia, Paul’s work lead him to West Africa to develop a national aquaponics program for the Ghana Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, in collaboration with the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, which at the time were struggling to balance the reforestation of farmland to buffer coastal waterways from erosion and eutrophication from excess fertilizer use, and the need bolster crop production and inland fish-farming.
The national aquaponics program would serve to increase inland pond and and recirculating aquaculture while mitigating sludge discharge into local waterways by converting it into fertilizer for crops cultivated in contained engineered wetlands.
After the development of an aquaponics program in Ghana, Paul Westwood and Henry Nickerson were engaged by the World Bank, through Integrated Agriculture Systems, to advise the Nigeria State Education Program Investment Project (SEPIP) on the feasibility of aquaponic growing systems to be constructed as a tool for increasing Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in schools in Ekiti State, Nigeria.
This partnership with World Bank resulted in the construction of a 3,000 square foot aquaponic facility at the Governor’s Gifted School. This aquaponic screen-house aids the Federal Ministry of Education in providing students with Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), and real-world opportunities to engage with industry-leading growing equipment.
This aquaponic system utilizes waste-water from tilapia tanks as the primary nutrient source for cultivating a variety of vegetative and fruiting crops. As this is a recirculating system, in which remediated water is recycled back to the fish, crops can be produced with only a small percentage of water and land relative to conventional growing methods. Erected in a controlled environment screen-house, this system is not as susceptible to seasonal fluctuations of rainfall and temperatures, allowing for year-round food production.
In his pursuit to develop sustainable agricultural models, Paul Westwood has traveled to over 25 countries to study cultivation and CEA techniques, and agro-business practices. His personal experiences and global network of government, private, and university partners allows Westwood CEA to conduct feasibility studies and develop project plans for successful implementations.
Whether you are in the laying the groundwork for a development project, or are looking for technical support for expanding an existing operation, feeding people and helping nations to build food-security is at the heart of Westwood CEA. Please reach out to our team to discuss how we can support the work you are doing.