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Video/Gallery: Kenyan farmers trained to take advantage of soaring demand for fish

PUBLISHED: 10:00 29 November 2014 | UPDATED: 09:23 01 December 2014

Crowds of people helped Ali harvest his fish

Crowds of people helped Ali harvest his fish

Archant

Fish is a vital source of protein and nutrition in western Kenya with some 60% of households dependent on fish for their livelihoods from the nearby Lake Victoria.

But in recent years the lake’s stocks have dwindled due to over-fishing and pollution, leaving families in the region without an

important source of income as well as one of the most important components of their diet.

The Kenyan Government has responded to the problem by building fish ponds across the area, giving a much-needed boost to fish

farming in the process.

Farm Africa is underpinning the Kenyan Government’s drive to improve food security by training local entrepreneurs to set up a network of one-stop aqua shops.

And local farmers are able to access everything they need from the shops, from training in fish cultivation to products like fertilisers, feeds and nets.

They can also buy fish to eat at the shops, too.

Since 2011, 38 entrepreneurs have been trained, each setting up their own aqua shop.

The shops are having a huge impact, providing thousands of fish farmers with the expertise and resources to set up and maintain healthy, productive fish ponds.

Cassim is one of the 38 entrepreneurs trained by Farm Africa and who has now set up his own aqua shop. He has helped Ali, one of over 200 fish farmers who have been supported by Cassim’s ‘Mumias Aqua Shop’.

He has taught Ali the importance of feeding fish the right food, the optimal number of fingerlings to put in his pond, how to test water quality and spot signs of fish illness.

In the past, Ali harvested around 320 small fish but thanks to the scheme, his first harvest produced around 1,000 large fish and a profit of 30,000 Kenyan Shillings (£211).

“I am hoping to extend and have more ponds - perhaps two or three more,” he said.

Since 2010, the charity has trained 12 aqua shop entrepreneurs to invest in the fish farming sector and is now supporting 4,000 fish farmers, increasing yields by up to 215% and doubling income for many farmers.

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