Kenya: Aquaculture Farming On Rise

By Cheki Abuje

The on-farm fish farming, popularly known as Aquaculture is on a steady upward trend in Kenya following consistent trainings and creation of awareness to farmers, traders and processors in the sector as a result of European Union funding. 

This is after a considerable period of industry struggle for a bearing, Africa Science News has established.

According to Mary Opiyo, Fish Researcher/Scientist with Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute ( KEMFRI) Ministry of Agriculture Livestock and Fisheries, the sub sector has made remarkable stride in the production of on farm fish for both local and International consumption.

She said in 2007, Kenya produced a paltry 4,000 metric tonnes of fish, adding that the figures have systematically increased to 21,000 metric tonnes in 2012 and more than 48,000 metric tonnes in 2013, with close to 80,000 farmers directly benefitting from the industry.

Ms Opiyo disclosed that introduction of Economic Stimulus program by the government of Kenya in 2009 has immensely contributed to the current upsurge status of aquaculture farming in the country.

Speaking to Africa Science News in Nakuru County during a 3 day sensitization training workshop on Sanitary & Phytosanitary (SPS) and Technical Barriers in Trade (TBT) to International market, funded by European Union, the Scientist joined participants in lauding European Union for funding the training to empower farmers and other players with knowledge on fish farming.

The training was funded by European Union as part of Euros 1 milion training sponsorship on SPS and TBT issues under the project dubbed EU- KENYA STANDARDS and Market Access Program (SMAP).
The workshop was organized and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) under Standards and Market Access Program (SMAP) in collaboration with Aquaculture Association of Kenya (AAK).

The target audience for the awareness included producers, traders and processors. The training is a continuous exercise through December 2016.

Said one of the participants " this training is timely and important for the sector players as the government of Kenya is putting in place regulatory requirements to export fish to European Union market" he challenged fellow farmers to be trainers if those at the grassroots.

However, Daniel Mungai, Senior Assistant Director of Fisheries observed that Kenya has exhausted the EU export regulations and await listing to start exporting pond fish to European market.
He noted that this will enhance aquatic fish farming, increase foreign exchange to exchequer and individual sector players respectively.

He urged farmers to embrace aquaculture as a business and called for unity and formidable local network to exploit the promising EU market once the export nod is approved.

Mungai reiterated that on farm fish farming injected a whooping more than Ksh. 2 billion into the economy in 2013 after exporting a total of 6,742 metric tonnes, adding that at the same period Kenya imported from china fish worth 500 million.

The fisheries Director expressed confidence that the knowledge attained during the training will revitalise the sub sector for mass production.

He said the state department of fisheries is mandated to sustainably manage and conserve and exploit Kenya' s fisheries resources to contribute to poverty reduction and wealth creation ad well as employment to youths.

The Kenya government in conjunction with SMAP and AAK has put measures in place to support the EU funded trainings to achieve the desired objectives in aquaculture industry. The measures are aimed at food security, nutritional value, self sustainability and employment creation.

Some of the initiatives include construction of aquatic facilities that serve as Research centres, training facilities, aquatic demo centres and source of fingerling accessible to farmers.

For instance Sangoro Research station, Kenya Marine and fisheries Research Institute in Rachuonyo, Wakhungu fish farm in Busia, Kibos fish hatcheries in Kisumu, Kiganjo trout hatchery in Nyeri among other initiatives.


Unknown said...

Nice read.

Unknown said...

The article is good

kevinobiero said...

Nice article Mary. Efforts appreciated

kevinobiero said...

Nice article Mary. Efforts appreciated

Ong'amo irving said...

The article is very good..
You are taking aquaculture to tye next level Ms. Mary

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