Aquaculture Business Development Programme launches products to enhance production in fish farming

Aquaculture Business Development Programme in collaboration with stakeholders and partners has launched two technical knowledge products to support transfer of knowledge and technology as well as help fish farmers in maintaining their records.

The products namely Aquaculture Field School Manual (AFS) and Fish Farmer Record Book were launched yesterday during the ABDP regional forum held within Homa Bay town.

AFS manual was developed as a training manual for fish farmers in areas of technology and skills while Fish Farmer Record Book is meant to help the farmers in maintaining records as well as enhancing extension service provision in aquaculture.

With the theme “stimulating dialogue on innovative adaptive technologies to enhance fish farming in Kenya,” the forum brought together 45 fish farmers, 15 youth entrepreneurs and 15 county extension officers from the 15 implementing counties, partners and aquaculture stakeholders.

The farmers were from Nyeri, Embu, Kirinyaga, Tharaka Nithi, Meru, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Machakos and Western region incliding Busia, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Kisii, Kakamega, Siaya and Migori.

ABDP Western and Nyanza regional Coordinator Ruth Mwarabu said that the aquaculture sector has documented rapid growth which is attributed to the adoption of new technologies as well as systematic improvement of the existing technologies that has played a role in making aquaculture more efficient, economical and environmentally sustainable.

She said that the technologies that are available for adoption in the country are in seeds and feeds production, adding that ABDP has recognized the need for the adoption of these technologies.

“ABDP has channeled resources to enable fish farmers gain easy access to such knowledge through the two products. To address the existing gaps in the aquaculture sub sector, ABDP developed the aquaculture handbook concept in aquaculture technology and innovation for value chain players,” she said.

She said that in order to support transfer of knowledge and technology, the first component supports the training of farmers using Farmer Field School approach which has led to establishment of aquaculture field schools among the 15 implementing counties to provide opportunities for farmers to learn and transfer new technology and innovation and promote best management practice.

To achieve this, the programme oversaw the production of an AFS training manual that has four modules including aquaculture field school methodology and implementation process and aquaculture based management practice among others.

ABDP further designed the Fish Farmer Record keeping book to aid fish farmers in tracking the progress of their aquaculture ventures and help make every decision based on the data recorded.

Mwarabu explained that in order to ensure sustainable aquaculture, the adoption and upscaling of climate smart aquaculture technology, innovation and management practices will be key in maintaining the required growth of aquaculture and to meet the increasing demand of fish in the country and beyond.

Since aquaculture is rapidly growing, there is need for development of new production technology to maximize production, she added.

The significant technologies include recirculating aquaculture system which is mainly useful in dryland aquaculture, aquaponics and hydroponics.

ABDP Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Michael Waweru said that the AFS manual will guide the farmers on field school methodology and reiterated on the importance of data in decision making, adding that data is the only solution to any problem within the sub sector.

“A farmer is a key source of data and any decision and activity undertaken by him or her must be data driven. It is you that is going to give the data that will show ABDP’s performance to the world. It will show the world what ABDP does as a programme and that is why the Farmer Records book was developed,” said Waweru.

On Monday, ABDP had also organized a farmer exchange visit in Kendu Bay where the fish farmers were subjected to a learning experience at Muga fish farm where they interacted with the different technologies employed at the farm to increase production and reduce the related costs of production such as electricity.

“The reason behind the fish farmers learning event was to bring farmers from the 15 implementing counties to spend a day interacting with each other and also learning the techniques or adaptable technology that are being undertaken by the model farmer also known as the lead farmer (Muga Fish Farm) so that when they go back home they are able to implement them,” she explained.

Muga Farm, which utilizes Oluch-Kimira irrigation scheme to run, has the raised ponds technology which use a very small space, solar-run hatchery which runs the hatchery, aquaponics system and the deep freezer and cultures the black soldier flies which he feeds to his fish.

The farm was established in 2010 and engages the local community by supplying them with fries.

“The local community rears the fries up to post fingerlings where Muga buys them back and resells to other farmers in different regions,” Mwarabu said.

The County Director of Agriculture Charles Nyayiera who was representing the County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture (CECM) encouraged the farmers to adopt innovative technology to promote fish farming in the county.



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