Fish farming is an interesting agribusiness to venture into. Apart from the fact that it is profitable; there is nothing that gives joy than watching such a wonderful specie being reared successfully outside their wild environment.
Fish farming means rearing fishes commercially in tanks, ponds or other enclosures for the purpose of producing food. It is a lucrative business which requires time, patience and money. Why fish farmers fail in Kenya is because of the believe that fish farming requires little investment which results in huge profits. Fish farming is very technical, risky, capital-intensive, needs adequate knowledge and attention. But when compared to other reared animals like poultry, they are still a better choice because their mortality rate is less.
Fish Farming in Kenya is one of the country’s lucrative Agribusinesses where income is made on a consistent basis.
Fish Farming In Kenya: Overview
Fish farming in Kenya, over the years, has become a lucrative business in the agricultural sector of the country. From the beginning of time, farmers have centred their production of agriculture on peasant farming, farms produce, plantation, livestock farming, (crop farming and animal husbandry). It is the basic and popular farming system in Kenya.
The fish farming system is the system in which fishes are reared for sale or for consumption. In other words, fish farming entails breeding of different varieties of fishes such as Catfish, Tilapia and Mackerel (Tilapia) etc.
This agro-economic sector (Fish Farming) is a fast-growing business and is popular across every market and some strategic locations.
Gone are the days when the only means of getting fish is by catching it in the local rivers and ponds through trial and errors.
Today, input and output in farm practice are done concurrently. When talking about fish, it is rich in calcium and phosphorous, and it is equally a great source of iron, zinc, iodine, minerals, magnesium, and potassium.
Again, Fish is one of several prescriptions of medical personnel as a tool for gaining Vitamins and Mineral in its consumption. Its also contain Omega-3 Fatty acids which are high benefits for the heart proper functioning. Majorly people eat fishes for health benefits and health reasons.
Fish farming is a knowledge-driven sector, and this underscores the importance of training, self-development and consultation and management of fishes. Vaccination and medication; prevention, identification, and treatment.
The Entrepreneurial and marketing aspects also require training. The Internet provides a variety of information about how to start Fish Farming. You will find many information on the internet on how to start fish farming in Kenya especially tilapia and catfish farming.
Advantages Of Fish Farming
Here are the benefits of fish farming in Kenya:
1. Fish Is Popular
Fishery products are by far the most popular animal products in the market, constituting more than 65% of meat products in the Kenyan market.
2. Fish Is Source Of Protein
Fish provides one of the highest sources of protein. It is a low-fat high-quality protein that is filled with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2 (riboflavin). Fish is also very rich in calcium and phosphorus and is equally a great source of minerals, such as iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium, and potassium for the body.
3. Fish Is A Fast Selling Product
Fish is a hot commodity in the market. Fish sells faster than any other animal products in the market and is relatively cheaper than meats, making it the number one choice when it comes to affordability.
4. Rapid Growth And Maturity
If proper steps and processes are taken fish grows rapidly. Fish grows very fast as practices in fish farming make it possible for farmers to increase the fastness of their fish growth by giving them certain feeds, ensuring that you harvest and sell within the short period of time.
5. Fish Contains Omega-3
The best provider of Omega-3 acid is the proper consumption of fish. Fish is the biggest source of Omega-3 fatty acids which is extremely beneficial to a human heart; Omega-3 helps to keep our heart and brain very healthy. Since the human body doesn’t produce Omega-3 fatty acids, the only source through which we can get it is by what we eat, that is where fish comes to the rescue.
6. Fish Farming Is Very Profitable
Fish farming is very profitable. With proper planning and good management, $4000 investment in fish farming could easily result in $2000 of pure profit within six months.
7. There Is No Environmental Hazard
Fish farm does not cause any environmental hazard. Unlike poultry farming, you can set up the fish farm anywhere, including residential areas. If you have a spacious compound, you can easily set up a small fish farm within your backyard without any regulatory precaution.
Challenges And Risks Involved In Fish Farming In Kenya
1. Sensitive To Manage
Fish is very sensitive to manage and a slight mistake could result in degenerated growth of your fish or even death which may cause massive revenue loss.
2. Fish Farming Is Capital Intensive
Setting up a fish farm is capital intensive, much more than that of poultry and Setting up a fish farm requires more careful planning and much capital input. A relatively small fish farm may take up to $2000 to setup, while bigger ones take $30,000.
3. Fish Is Priced High
Due to the cost of production, fish produced from the farm is priced higher than those caught from the rivers and ponds by fishermen. Therefore, if there is a good quantity of fisherman’s fish in the market, you may find it difficult to sell as people would prefer the cheaper ones.
4. No Byproduct
There is no byproduct in the fishery, unlike poultry where even the drop can be harvested and sold to other farmers and make extra profit. In fishery, all you get is the flesh.
How To Start A Fish Farming In Kenya
1. Buy A Land
Any location is good since fish doesn’t cause any environmental disturbance. Look for a land where you can get it cheap and buy. Depending on the capacity you wants to operate on, a half plot of land is just good enough for an average fish farm.
However, you may go for something bigger like full plot or two if you can afford it probably for convenience sake. If you already have a compound with leftover space you thing can accommodate two or three pounds, you may use it.
2. Build Ponds
You need to engage the service of expert pond construction engineer or you go to another fish farm to get the specification and construction requirements. The plumbing work must be properly done to ensure proper drainage.
Adequate water supply is the lifeblood of fish farm and lack of it may result in disaster because water needs to be changed on a regular interval. Naturally available sources of water such as borehole and river water are the most suitable. Rainwater and tap water from the chemically treated source is not recommended.
3. Install Overhead Tank
This is the water reservoir from which water is supplied to your ponds. This tank has to be connected to your ponds through the plumbing system to make it convenient for water to flow into your ponds when needed.
4. Buy Juvenile Fish
Buy your juvenile from another farm that specializes in supplying it. You need to go for the high yield species of catfish or tilapia and make sure you are getting it from a healthy farm.
5. Get The Required Training
Not the kind of training you get from one-day seminars; you need to get attached to a fish farm for a proper apprenticeship. For you to properly learn this trade, you need at least two months training on this. Remember that your investment is at stake, trial and error is not good in business except you have unlimited funds to experiment with.
If you want to go into fish farming full time, be sure to make inquiries and ask questions. Fish farming will continue to be a profitable venture in Kenya.