Aquaculture business in Kenya and other parts of the world goes beyond the farming of fishes only, it comprises of other marine or aquatic lives which includes but is not limited to shrimps, shellfish, prawns, aquatic plants and lots more.
Though aquaculture farming is most times referred to as fish farming, it is because fishes compose a larger fraction of this kind of farming practice.
Some farmers in Kenya may want to go beyond fishing by incorporating other aquatic lives which includes both salt and fresh water organisms, and some entrepreneurs may also want to start this kind of business but may not know how to about. Don’t worry; these steps will help you on how to start aquaculture farming business in Kenya.
Knowledge is Power – Always remember that knowledge is power and is the key to success too, so before going into this kind of farming business make sure you have a basic or an adequate knowledge of what aquaculture is all about, its pros and cons, how to get the fishes and others, so that you don’t start what you can’t finish.
Research on what kind of aquatic life will yield you lots of profits by checking the local markets including other local farmers, seafood stores, and others to know what their demand is and what kind of species they want in terms of volume, price and weight, this will make you to know what kind of aquaculture farming you will go into because making a choice blindly will affect your business profit.
Capital– You must have known what kind of aquaculture farming you will be going into, try as much as possible to know how much money or capital that you will need in establishing the business, also put into consideration the size of the business operation so that you wouldn’t be estimating too high or too low.
Land– Get a suitable land that best fits your practice, and depending on your market research you will know if you are basing on just fish farming or combining it with shrimps, prawns and others as it will help you in getting a sizeable land for the project. Make sure that the location is good and is near to markets and other potential buyers.
Know that aquaculture farming is wider than some people think and involves more work, so if have to consider so many things from feeding to labour, water quality and regulation, and other essential things which will make them survive and grow well.
License– Many countries requires that the farmer must have a license for such business, so try and find out from your local or county government so that you will be able to meet the necessary requirements for getting a permit or license in this kind of operation without being penalized.
It is good to join an association and organization that oversees the affairs of the aquaculturists in Kenya such as Fisheries and Aquaculture Department that will not only help to publicize your business but will provide you with an opportunity to see and interact with other prominent business fellows, and other numerous benefits which you are bound to gain from it.
Starting aquaculture business in Kenya may seem stressful but it is simpler than it looks, all you need is to put the above factors into consideration and then watch things fall into places. And you don’t have to worry about making profits because recently people are now focusing and switching their diets to seafood making the demand to be on the high side.
Fish farming is a form of aquaculture. It involves raising fish commercially in ponds for human consumption. There are different fish farming that utilize different aquiculture methods.
This method uses cages that are placed in lakes, oceans, and ponds that contain fish. This method is also commonly known as off-shore cultivation. Fish are normally kept in cages where they are artificially fed and harvested. The fish farming cage method has made numerous technological advances over the years, especially with reducing diseases and environmental concerns. However, the number one concern of the cage method is fish escaping and being loose among the wild fish population.
Irrigation Ditch/Pond Systems
This basic requirement for this method is to have a ditch or a pond that holds water. This is a unique system because at a small level, fish are artificially fed and the waste produced from the fish is then used to fertilize farmers’ fields. On a larger scale, mostly in ponds, the pond is self-sustaining as it grows plants and algae for fish food.
This is a type of fish farming that allows both local fish species and imported fish species to coexist in the same pond. The number of species depends, but it is sometimes upwards of six fish species in a single pond. The fish species are always carefully chosen to ensure that species can coexist and reduce competition for food.
Integrated Recycling System
This is considered the largest scale method of “pure” fish farming. This approach uses large plastic tanks that are placed inside a greenhouse. There are hydroponic beds that are placed near the plastic tanks. The water in the plastic tanks is circulated to the hydroponic beds, where the fish feed waste goes to provide nutrients to the plant crops that are grown in the hydroponic beds. The majority of types of plants that are grown in the hydroponic beds are herbs such as parsley and basil.
Classic Fry Farming
This method is also known as “flow through system”. This is when sport fish species are raised from eggs and are put in streams and released.
Different Fish Species Raised on Fish Farms
There are a number of different fish species that are raised on fish farms, the most common fish spices raised are salmon, carp, tilapia, catfish and cod.
Catfish are easy to farm in warmer climates. Catfish are predominantly farmed in fresh water ponds and fed mostly soybeans, corn and rice. Catfish are often considered one of the more sustainable fish specifies for fish farming purposes. Cultivating catfish first began in the 1900s and became commercialized in the 1950s. Catfish is populous because of its health benefits and market demand. Farm-raised catfish are usually harvested at 18 months of age where as wild catfish usually get much bigger. There are a number of catfish species, but the three most prominent ones are blue catfish, channel catfish, and flathead catfish.
Tilapia is the third most popular fish used in fish farming or aquaculture, with the first two being carp and salmon. They have increased in popularity due to their high protein, large size and growth capabilities. Tilapia is a tropical fish that requires warmer water to survive. The ideal water temperature is usually between 28 to 30 degrees C. Tilapia fish are known to reproduce rapidly and this is a challenge for managing tilapia fish species for farming use. If not managed properly, fish will aggressively compete for food which may result in stunted growth. Therefore, males are almost used exclusively. Tilapias are resilient towards fighting off diseases and parasites. Tilapia fish require a cereal-based diet and don’t eat other fish, but they are also considered to be one of the most invasive fish species.
Salmon is one of the most popular fish species with the most commonly farmed being Atlantic salmon. There are two other varieties of Pacific salmon that are also farmed – Chinook and Coho. Farmed salmon are vaccinated to prevent disease outbreaks and only on rare occasions do they require additional medications. There are often questions about the different colours between wild and farmed salmon – farmed salmon aren’t dyed, their colour comes from their food. Salmon feed is made to conserve wild fish stocks.
Tuna fish are saltwater fish and are important in the commercial fish farming industry. Japan is the biggest consumer of tuna and has invested a significant amount of research into studying the fish. There are different species of tuna including, bluefin, yellowfin, and albacore. Bluefin tuna populations have dropped significantly in some regions due to over fishing. Farming tuna is complex as the fish are “massive” and are very active – so simulating their natural environment is extremely difficult. Most tuna for human consumption are caught in the wild and raised in a facility to increase weight gain. Tuna are carnivorous and eat other fish. Tuna are typically farmed in net pens offshore and in some cases are farmed in recirculation systems.
Eel fish farming emerged in the early 1950s and it is considered one of the most profitable in terms of export value in the fishing industry. However, the profit value is largely driven by the Asian markets and is culture specific. Eels are a carnivorous and catadromous fish, which means that when they are young they live in fresh water, but as they mature they migrate to the sea for breeding –spending anywhere from 8 to 30 years in freshwater before they migrate. The majority of eel farming takes place in Asia, with China, Japan and Taiwan leading as the biggest producers. Glass eels are preferred over elvers because they are easier to transport and wean onto artificial diets. Eel farming can take on one of two different forms – high intensity recirculating tank (indoors) or intensive pond facilities.
Indoor fish farming is the alternative to cultivating fish outdoors in a cage system. With the emergence of technological advances, raising fish indoors is now possible using proper control production methods. Indoor fish farming is often very sophisticated and in some cases allow for automatic collection and processing of fish wastes into crop fertilizers. There are advantages and disadvantages to indoor fish farming:
Advantages to indoor fish farming
Fish are protected from predators and weather changes.
Fish are often produced faster through temperature control, water quality and feeding practices.
Indoor fish farming is often considered more environmentally friendly because it requires less water and produces less waste.
Avoids the chance of fish escaping and getting loose amongst wild fish populations.
Allows higher stock densities and often saved farm labour input costs.
It often allows greater flexibility for facility locations, which can save transportation costs if facilities are located near markets.
Disadvantages to indoor fish farming
Requires electricity input costs.
Requires infrastructure set-up which often requires a significant amount of startup capital.
Fish raised indoors are carnivorous, which requires the capture of large amounts of other fish for their diet.
Are a you a youth in Kenya and would like to venture in Fish farming? Great! Now could be a great time for you to enter the aquaculture industry, it is a profitable business. Fish have high market value and demand in Kenya, as well as a promising future as a source of income around the world.
A suitable location
First, you need to consider your location. It’s important to determine whether you are in a suitable area for fish farming and are in compliance with your state and local laws.
Take space into consideration. You will need space for your office, storage of inventory, your staff and a place to store your equipment.
If you feel that the location where you live is suitable or you could acquire suitable land for farming nearby, that’s great. You’ve checked the first criteria off your list!
knowledge from Experts
Once you have found a suitable location for your business, you need to start soaking up as much knowledge about fish farming as you can before you actually start investing money in your business.
For learning about fish farming, you may visit several fish farms in your area or find online resources. There are several websites that can help you gather more knowledge about aquaculture. Go through some of the fish farming sites and learn about the pros and cons of the fish farming business.
Consider a Business Plan
Before starting any business, you need to have a business strategy outlined. Your business plan should contain all necessary information about the structure of your company, your expenses, expected investment and anticipated return on your investment.
Take some time to consider all the possible expenses and be sure to include everything you’ll need to start your business in your plan.
Determine what you will need; how many staff, what equipment and supplies, your overheads, funds and assets. You will need your business plan to register your company as a corporation or proprietorship. It will also help you to attract investors and partners, apply for bank loans and government grants, as well as create a solid plan for you to follow as closely as you can.
It might be a good idea to consult a business consultant or attorney to help you with your necessary permits and paperwork. These experts will make it easier for you to form a company and comply with all the legal requirements.
How to get funding
If you want to start a small scale or midsized business, you must have some funds saved up as your startup capital. If you don’t have enough experience in the industry, you should consider starting small and asking one of your friends with a little more experience to become your partner.
There are many benefits of a partnership business. You can gather funds much quicker that way. You also share liabilities. If you don’t have enough money, you may apply for a business loan. Even if you don’t have good credit or if you don’t qualify for a traditional business loan, there are other ways to gather funds for your business.
Here are some alternate ways you could get funding:
Borrow against your property: If you have property or valuables, you could borrow money against them. “Some banks offer home equity lines of credit that let you borrow up to as much as 75% of the appraised value of your land.
Sell your valuables: Look around and see if you have any belongings that you could sell to get some startup cash, like your old car, your old computer or furniture that you don’t need.
Ask your friends and relatives: You might have a rich friend or a relative, like a rich uncle, who wouldn’t mind investing in your business or lending you the money to get started.
Look for microloans: Microloans are available through a variety of sources. They could be through community sources, personal loans or through online sources. The terms of microloans, interests rates and eligibility varies from lender to lender.
Government Funding: See if you can qualify for a small business loan from the government; you have a variety of options.
Your marketing success will largely depend on how active you are in informing others about your new venture. Your connections with local businesses will be the most effective marketing tool for you at the beginning.
There are many ways to advertise your farm with very little cost.
You can use the internet, social media platforms and other forms of media such as the newspaper, your local radio station, your city papers, bulletin boards and handmade signs and flyers to get customers to visit your farm.
You can also use your farm as a storefront. If you are on a busy road, add some signage telling passers-by about your fish and encourage them to stop and buy some. We hope this article will help you to gather all the resources you need to start your own business in aquaculture. Now there is nothing that’s stopping you from becoming a business owner.
Prior to a farmer starting fish farming, there are a few fundamental contemplations to guarantee achievement. These include:
Design of the Pond
When choosing the pond site and configuration, there are a few variables to be considered. A portion of these are:
Source of water to fill the pond and how the same water will be brought to the pond:
The general rule is that the pond water inflow and outflow should measure up to the pond volume over the time of a month. On the off chance that the inflow is too low, water quality may experience the ill effects of oxygen exhaustion as well as collection of toxicants. In the event that the water surge is too high, a lot of valuable green growth might be flushed out from the pond. The water should keep the pond full all through the culture period. The pond should top off in under seven days. Place screens on pond deltas and outlets to keep out predators, creepy crawlies and undesirable fish and furthermore to hold the cultured fish.
Size, shape and pond depth:
Moderately shallow ponds are profitable. In any case, the shallow end ought to be no less than 0.5m deep to keep away from invasion by weeds and predation of the fish. The size and state of the pond can shift contingent upon the fish species, fish populace and the farmer’s preferences. It’s important that on the off chance that you need to produce fingerlings, you will require all the more small ponds while a food fish producer requires moderately large ponds.
Slope of the pond base:
The bottom of the pond must have an adequate slant for good drainage. A slant with a drop of 2cm for each 10m along the pond bottom is appropriate. On the off chance that the slant is excessively gentle, the pond won’t be easily drained. In the event that the pond is excessively steep, it might be excessively shallow toward one side or too deep at the other end. Pond ought to be drainable.
Height, width and Slope of the dyke:
The perimeter and feeder streets are required for machines movement during construction and harvest. If you intend to drive on the dykes, assemble them no less than 3m wide to top and at the base.
Top soil is high in organic material and ought not be used to construct pond dykes. Land ought to be made out of good quality soil, with practically no rock or shakes on the surface or mixed in. Areas with rocky, gravelly, or sandy soil are not suitable for pond construction. Soil that will be used to build the dykes must contain no less than 20 percent clay so the finished pond will hold water throughout the growing period.
There are three major fish species which can do well in the Kenyan climatic conditions. They are Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), African catfish (Clarias gariepinus) and Trout
This is a warm water fish and is mainly cultured in fresh water environment. It thrives well in water temperature of between 20-35 degree Celsius. It attains sexual maturity at two months. Tilapia feeds lower in the food chain i.e. feeds mainly on phytoplankton, zooplankton and detritus.
Stocking rates range from two to six fingerlings/m2, depending on the level of management. Male tilapia are known to grow almost twice as fast as females.
It is therefore preferable to stock only males (monosex culture) to achieve the fastest growth and reach market size in the shortest possible period, resulting in more proteins and profits. A major management problem of pond-cultured tilapia is excessive reproduction and the subsequent stunting of fish due to overcrowding.
Methods of controlling overpopulation include manual sexing of fish, use of sex-reversal hormones to produce all males, and use of predators.
The success of these methods may rest with how well a fish farmer understands the techniques.
It grows in the same agro climatic regions as tilapia. The water temperatures of between 26-33 degrees Celsius are ideal. It attains maturity at two years of age or at 200-500 grams. It feeds mainly on zooplanktons. Their stocking rate is 100-450 fry/ m2.
Catfish has a drawback of high mortality of fry especially during the first 14 days after eggs hatch
It’s a cold water fish and it’s best grown in high altitude regions where water is cooler. Its presently limited by availability of seeds and quality feeds in the country
The procedure below should be followed by the farmer to the latter when preparing the pond for stocking. These steps will help boost the productivity of the pond.
For an old pond, drain all water and allow it to dry for 14 days.
Apply lime to the pond bottom and dyke slopes. Choose agricultural limestone (CaCO3) for application in your fishpond
Apply organic fertiliser in the pond before filling it with water. The most common examples of organic fertilisers are animal manures (from cattle, poultry, donkeys, rabbits, sheep and goats) and decaying plant matter, such as cut grasses.
Fill the pond with water.
Apply inorganic fertiliser in the pond after it has been filled. Apply DAP and UREA to your fishpond at the following rates: wwDAP: 2 g/m2/week (or weekly applications of 15 tablespoons DAP for every 100 m2) wwUREA: 3 g/m2/week (or weekly applications of 30 tablespoons urea for every 100 m2).
There are various feeds that can be offered to the fish in the pond. Some commonly available feeds include:
— Dry sinking pellets
— Moist sinking pellets
— Floating pellets
The feeds can be formulated so as to meet the body requirements of the fish species. This can be done as follows:
Cotton seed cake— 37%
Wheat bran— 57%
iii. Fresh shrimp— 6%
Feed ingredients can be hand ground or a manual grinder can be used. It’s important to adhere to the four fixes (4Fs) when feeding fish. These are:
Fixed feed quality.
Fixed feed quantity.
Fixed feeding location.
Fixed feeding time.
The fish should be fed between 10am and 4pm when the water temperatures and dissolved oxygen content are reasonably high and the fish are active.
Fish farming is a very profitable enterprise if done with good management. Farmers should develop passion towards this less exploited agricultural opportunity. Join me next week as we go through handling, seed production, marketing, hatchery management and fish farming economics among other topics on aquaculture.
The fish ought to be fed between 10am and 4pm once the water temperatures and dissolved oxygen content are moderately high and therefore the fish are active.
Fish farming could be a very profitable business if sensible management is done. Farmers ought to develop passion towards this less exploited agricultural opportunity.
Kenya is known to be blessed with various assets with the potential for fruitful aquaculture. Hence, commercial fish rearing isn’t another investment thought in the nation. The nation is home to unmistakable geographic and climatic areas and assets, for example, substantial waterways, the Indian Ocean coastline, marshes, and Lake Victoria, the biggest freshwater lake in the continent. Such resources add to the plenitude of a variety of sea-going species in Kenya, which favors both vast and small-scale fish farming in Kenya.
As of now, fish farming in Kenya has ended up being a key monetary movement and a source of income for a few Kenyan family units. Thus, you can go over various fish farms set up for business purposes as you transverse the nation. While a few farmers practice this gainful financial activity for its benefits, others are doing it for family consumption. In any case, regardless of whether its fish farming for subsistence or business purposes, these fish farms have made a huge contribution to the dietary demands and economy of the nation.
You will have an easy time since climate, and geographical conditions of Kenya are ideal for the economic activity.
Kenya has an array of fish species hence you can choose on the most profitable ones.
The country has a high demand for fish products, so your fish will fetch good market prices.
You can opt to use some of the fish for consumption. So you can earn and at the same time meet your daily nutritional demands.
The practice can be a good source of income considering the current high rate of unemployment experienced in Kenya.
The practice is a right way of exploiting the numerous water resources in the country for economic purposes.
Step By Step Instructions On How To Start A Fish Farm
In case you’re thinking about joining the group of fish farmers in Kenya, it is critical that you remember a few imperative elements. Here is a well-ordered manual for take after while diving into this lucrative monetary activity.
Selecting the perfect land – For business angle generation, it will be appropriate on the off chance that you pick earthen lakes since they are the most reasonable. Make sure that the ground you pick is moderately level and free from contamination. Furthermore, the land ought to have a dependable water source since the quality and amount of the water you utilize impacts production.
Construction and outline of the fish pond – Ensure that the pond plan you pick underpins the species you expect to introduce. The pond should support the growth of your fish. A perfect pond configuration also guarantees most extreme production and great wellbeing of your fish.
Selecting suitable fish species – Your decision of a specific species is subject to the farm area, atmosphere, and market. For example, tilapia is known to have a monstrous demand across the nation. You can likewise go for fish species that is easy but difficult to keep up with your present area climate.
It is advisable that you provide quality food to ensure faster growth and maximum production. For commercial farming, you can go for manufactured supplementary feeds. The Kenyan market has several fish feed varieties that are specific for the different types of fish species. While caring for your fish, ensure that you handle all your tasks precisely and timely.
It is also advisable that you change the water and examine the water and soul quality regularly. Additionally, be keen on how you protect your fish from predators and use the proper medicines to keep your fish healthy.
Incomes And Profitability
Fish farming is a lucrative business idea in Kenya. For example, a farmer in Kirinyaga started the business with about Ksh. 20,000 and began making money after only a half year. His first huge cash from his fish farm was Ksh. 150,000. As of now, the farmer acquires between Ksh. 60,000 and Ksh. 100,000 consistently from the production of fish and fingerlings. This is simply a case to affirm how lucrative fish farming in Kenya can be.
Fish has a ready and appropriate market in Kenya since most Kenyans cherish the delicacy. Moreover, fish also has an appeal in the universal market. It is prudent that you send your fish straight to the market at the earliest opportunity because of their perishability. You can also categorize your harvest as indicated by sizes with the goal that you can expand profits.