Improved Husbandry Practices Boosts Aquaculture in Kenya
People at Gasi Beach in Kwale County, on Kenya’s Indian Ocean coast, wait for fishermen to buy their daily catch. Demand for fish in Kenya is on the rise courtesy of fast population growth of around three percent per year and increased awareness of the nutritional value of fish. Credit: Diana Wanyonyi/IPS
Despite the humid late October midday weather in Kisumu County near the shores of Lake Victoria, Jane Kisia is busy walking around her fish ponds feeding her fish. As she rhythmically throws handfuls of pellets into the ponds, located within her homestead, the fish ravenously gobble them up.
Kisia, a retired teacher, has been rearing fish for six years. In 2016 she was enlisted in the Kenya Market-led Aquaculture Programme (KMAP), to boost aquaculture and protect Lake Victoria’s dwindling stocks. KMAP, which runs from 2016-2019, is a programme by Farm Africa, a charity organisation. It covers 14 counties in Kenya’s central and Lake Victoria regions.
“KMAP has been providing training on aquaculture which has enabled me to harness the sector’s opportunities,” Kisia tells IPS.
Aside from just the training, KMAP has also given her a valuable link to traders. “When my fish mature, buyers are just a phone call away,” says Kisia.
In her five ponds, she rears Tilapia and some Catfish. She harvests them twice a year and makes between Kenya Shillings 150,000 – 200,000 (USD 1,500 -2000).
Demand for fish in Kenya is on the rise courtesy of fast population growth of around three percent per year and increased awareness of the nutritional value of fish.
Unfortunately, the country’s fish production is heavily reliant on wild fish caught in its lakes whose stocks are sharply declining. The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in April reported that over the last five years fish landed, including from lakes, marine source and fish farming, has declined from over 163,000 tons in 2013 to 135,000 tons last year. This has led to scarcity and high costs.
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