As fish continues to be a favourite meal in Kenyan homes, it is also a delicacy that can generate income for the country.
Even so, Kenyans mainly rely on fishing from existing water bodies, which do not produce enough fish to feed the nation, let alone export the produce. There has been concerted efforts by the Government and development partners to enhance knowledge in aquaculture, with an aim of empowering the people to ensure food security and economic growth.
Recently, the Netherlands and FoodTechAfrica partnered to launch the first of its kind aquaculture academy in East Africa. The academy aims at filling the gaps in the aquaculture sector by majorly enriching farmers with knowledge and resources through vocational training.
With two campuses, Kamuthanga Fish Farm in Machakos county and Jewlet Enterprises in Homabay county, the Academy will provide both theoretical and practical classes. While Kamuthanga offers a high-tech RAS system, at Jewlet trainees learn to work with cage farming.
The Kamuthanga Farm in Machakos, demonstrates a success story and enormous potential for fish farmers in the Country. In 2019, the farm became the first to receive the Ecomark certification by African Organization for Standardization (ARSO), a continental certification system that enhances the access of African products to international markets.
Through the academy, farmers are learning new and modern techniques of fish farming, whilst benefiting from the integrated value chain that provides training on feeds, farm set up, hatchery, fingerlings production and maintenance, water filtration and market maximization among others.
Boost to Training
Like Kamuthanga farm, other demo projects have been launched to elevate the aquaculture sector. This has seen over 1,000 farmers, students and extension workers trained, over 600 people employed, and at least 7,000 indirect job opportunities created between 2013 and 2019.
With further training and a boost to the small scale farmers, it is anticipated that the food security chain will significantly strengthen, while simultaneously providing job opportunities. In the long run, the objective is to meet the demand for protein in East Africa and increase food security as well as income generation.