Dish of the day is fresh-caught Tilapia in western Kenya

Farm  Africa

Farm Africa

Standard Supplier 20th December 2018

Dish of the day is fresh-caught Tilapia in western Kenya

Hot, battered tilapia, served with a generous shake of salt and wrapped in a sheet of newspaper is food on the go at its best in western Kenya.

Fresh fish is not only tasty but it’s a great source of protein for Kenya’s rapidly growing population: a country where nearly four out of five people are under the age of 35.

Demand for fish in Kenya is increasing rapidly due to population growth, rising incomes and increased awareness about the nutritional benefits of fish.

But the country’s wild fisheries are struggling to meet demand.

The international charity Farm Africa is working with Kenyan farmers to boost fish production in ponds. The aim is not just to offer the population a sustainable source of fish, but also to reduce the environmental strain on Lake Victoria, and provide fish farmers with reliable incomes.

Farm Africa gives farmers the support they need to make a success out of rearing fish such as tilapia and catfish. Key to this support is not just helping farmers increase their productivity but helping them develop effective business plans, which maximise their profits.

A thorough understanding of the market they are producing for helps farmers achieve the best prices.
Fish farmer Christine Kitonga credits the business training she received from Farm Africa for developing a value proposition concept. Previously, she harvested fish from her eight ponds when they weighed 300-500 grams. With support from Farm Africa, she realised there was higher demand for fish weighing 150g-200g. Her sales are faster now she harvests and sells fish within this range.

Selling fried fish by the roadside as well as raw fish also widens Christine’s market.

Achieving higher prices and sales is just one side of the equation. Firm cost control is also key to increasing profits. The high cost of fish feed in Kenya is a big factor holding back growth of the industry. Farm Africa helps fish farmers optimise their costs by helping them gain access to lower cost fish feed, as well as reduce the amount of fish feed wasted, and shorten their production cycles by stocking optimally sized fingerlings (baby fish).

The support Farm Africa is offering across Kenya’s aquaculture sector is helping not only boost the supply of fish, but transform life for fish farmers like Eric Almasa and their families.

Since working with Farm Africa, Eric’s income has increased, and he is now confident he will be able to afford to send all his children to school. A higher income also means the family’s diet has improved. Eric commented:

“When Farm Africa came, we did training and learnt a lot about technology. We have learnt about how to feed our fish and about value addition.

“I sold my fish to a big Farm Africa group in Kakamega: they have already come and harvested, they gave me a good price.

“Before, we farmers were down. My family is doing well now. My son is in Form 1, I have kept money from fish to send him to school. I have two more younger children I will be able to send to school because of the fish.

“Before I worked with Farm Africa, it was difficult to eat, it was difficult to get food. My life has changed. I dress better now and I eat better due to Farm Africa. I like Farm Africa, they have really changed our lives.”