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Fish Ponds Help Farmers Net More Cash

KENYA - What began as a hobby is slowly but steadily growing into lucrative business as North Rift residents turn to fish farming as an alternative source of livelihood.

Traditionally, residents in this region rely heavily on maize and wheat farming apart from dairy production for income generation. However, fish farming is proving to be among the fastest growing commercial ventures for locals.

Statistics from the fisheries department indicate that more than 300 farmers in the region have embraced fish production also referred to as aquaculture, reports Daily Nation.

In an effort to enable them grow in the new investment, Moi University department of fisheries and marines provides farmers with fingerlings and sensitises them on modern techniques including construction of ponds.

According to the head of the department, Dr Boaz Kaunda, Nile, tilapia and cat fish are the common breeds reared by farmers in the region.

“The high cost of farm inputs has forced some farmers in the region to adopt fish farming which they consider to be less costly and fetches attractive market prices,” explains Dr Kaunda.

Dr Kaunda says that fish production from aquaculture amounted to 1,012 metric tonnes last year valued at over Sh138 million.

“Aquaculture, apart from supplying proteins, has proved to be a source of self-employment, income generation and contributes towards the government’s overall goal of poverty reduction,” he says.

He challenges the government to give the sector more prominence in terms of national plans and resource allocation.

Mr Philip Maritim, a farmer from Kapsaret in Uasin Gishu District has never regretted switching from agriculture and dairy production to fish farming.

“Initially, I ventured into rearing of ornamental fish as a hobby but it has proved to be a more lucrative venture compared to agricultural or livestock production,” he confesses.

Mr Maritim has constructed five ponds on his one acre piece of land, two of which are for ornamental fish that fetches high prices. One can sell at as high as Sh800.

He says that he generates an average of Sh5,000 weekly from the three fish ponds for Nile, tilapia and cat fish.

“The demand for fish in the region exceeds supply. Clients have to make early bookings if they have to receive supply,” he says.

Mr Maritim invested Sh40,000 as capital for the project and two years down the line, his income has kept on rising.

the Fish Site Editor

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