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Kenya Market-led Aquaculture Programme

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The problem

Demand for fish in Kenya is increasing rapidly due to population growth, rising incomes and more awareness on the nutritional benefits of fish, but the country’s wild fisheries are struggling to meet the demand. In an attempt to solve the issue, the Government of Kenya has been actively promoting the development of an aquaculture (fish farming) sector.

The four-year Kenya Market-led Aquaculture Programme (KMAP) which ran from 2016 to 2019 was building upon previous work carried out by the Government of Kenya to promote fish farming, who between 2009 and 2012 built an estimated 48,000 fishponds across the country.

Drawing important lessons from the Government’s project, KMAP, with funding from the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Kenya, focused on strengthening fish farmers’ links to high-quality, affordable input suppliers and improving fish farmers’ market orientation and profitability.

What are we doing?

KMAP, which was implemented by Farm Africa alongside a consortium of five supporting partners worked directly with farmers, aquaculture inputs suppliers and traders to improve production, strengthen market systems and the policy environment so as to help farmers turn their ponds into thriving businesses. This was done by:

  • Providing technical and business training to 1,114 medium and large scale fish farmers, hatcheries and fish feed producers in West and Central Kenya so as to boost their production.
  • Helping fish farmers to access high value markets so as to increase their incomes.
  • Supporting the suppliers of feed and fingerlings (young fish) to improve the quality of their produce and helping them to sell to farmers.
  • Working with traders to increase their access to and capacity to sell larger volumes of farmed fish.
  • Helping fish farmers to organise themselves into farmer groups for consistent production and supply of fish to the market so the industry can thrive.
  • Increasing private sector participation in creating an enabling policy environment for aquaculture development.

Project achievements

  • Contributed to the discussions that led to the removal of the 5% fisheries levy on imported feeds.
  • Successfully lobbied for the enactment of a bill that introduced an aquaculture inputs (feeds and fingerlings) cost sharing system between fish farmers and the county government of Kakamega to boost aquaculture production in the county.
  • Provided technical and market engagement training to 1,114 fish farmers between June 2016 and December 2018.
  • Reached over 6,713 fish farmers through trade fairs, electronic learning platforms and peer to peer learning between August 2016 to December 2019.
  • Increased the productivity of tilapia farmers by 97% from 0.31 Kg/M² at baseline in 2016 to 0.61 Kg/M² at end term in 2019.
  • Increased the productivity of catfish farmers by more than fivefold from only 0.14 Kg/M² in 2016 to 0.82 Kg/M² at end term in 2019.
  • Trebled annual production of both tilapia and catfish from 249MT per year in 2016 to 912 MT annually in 2019.
  • Overall revenue for fish farming enterprises grew by 16% since 2016 with 62% of the farmers reporting increased fish farming revenue since engagement with KMAP. As at November 2019, 77% of KMAP farms were profitable with a gross margin of over 70%.
  • At end term in 2019, KMAP farms were employing a total of 2,794 people per production cycle.

The following video outlines some of the tips we give on how to feed fish so as to minimise waste and maximise profit:

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Who were we working with?

This project is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Nairobi. We’re leading a consortium of partners, including Netherlands Senior Experts (PUM),the BoP Innovation Center, Larive International B.V. the World Fish Center (WFC), and the Centre for Development Innovation (CDI).