Building a ‘systemic approach’ to tilapia farming in Kenya could benefit local economies and the seafood sector
Lattice Aqua, a Kenyan aquaculture organization, has partnered with the Sustainable Trade Initiative (IDH), a Netherlands-based social enterprise organization, to improve the “productivity, profitability and sustainability of fish farms in Kenya.” According to an IDH press release, building a “systemic approach” for more sustainable and financially viable tilapia fish farming in Kenya will bring significant value to the sector, as well as to local people working in the fish farming business.
“Growing domestic and regional African markets have seen an increasing demand for fish and fishery products,” wrote IDH in the press release. “However, the combination of population growth and declining sea fisheries has led to a supply deficit with most African countries relying on fish imports although there is ample opportunity to farm fish domestically.”
In Kenya, the conditions for aquaculture practices for tropical fishes are optimal (due to high temperature and other local conditions) but poor cage and pond farming practices, lack of access to high-quality feed and fingerlings as well as affordable services (including finance) and management expertise has resulted in “failing, inefficient and unprofitable fish farms.”
“The work with Lattice Aqua aims to improve fish farmer incomes, support SMEs and farmers to access markets and create work opportunities while ensuring gender inclusivity,” wrote the IDH. “It is based on earlier activities that verified the positive influence of a data-driven approach and is done through an integrated ecosystem approach.”
This ecosystem includes the biggest feed producer in Kenya (Tunga Feed), the largest seed farms (Jewlet Enterprises and Kamuthanga fish farm), market off-taker (Aqua Rech), technical support from the Aquaculture Academy and financial institutions (Faulu Microfinance Bank and Juhudi Kilimo). Through the collaboration, Kenyan tilapia farming could become a sustainable and profitable business, provide livelihoods for locals and lead to economic prosperity throughout the sector.
“The success of fish farming depends on multiple key factors, such as management practices, feed and fingerlings used, sales channels and data collection,” said Julie Muyela, regional head, Lattice Aqua. “However, prior to getting these factors in place, future fish farmers should decide on the type of farming system to invest in. This decision could make or break the success potential of their farm.”
Established by the Dutch government in 2009, IDH works with businesses, financiers, governments and civil society to realize sustainable trade in global value chains. This new, ongoing partnership with Lattice Aqua aligns with IDH’s goals in Africa, which include establishing long-term business relations between small and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) and off-takers, addressing domestic food demand and deficits, generating employment and increasing the intra-African trade of food commodities while safeguarding the environment.
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