STUDY: Fish farmers in Kenya can enhance productivity by stocking the large fingerling sizes
Fish farmers can enhance their productivity by stocking the right fingerling sizes and setting up farms in warmer regions, a new study reveals.
The growth trial was conducted in Kisumu and Karatina Universities to determine the optimal production methods for different tilapia strains.
The study by Farm Africa and WorldFish found that in cold areas such as central Kenya, the growth of fingerlings was imperatively slower in terms of weight gain and food conversion ratio.
For fish farming to thrive in cold regions, technologies such as greenhouses, larger fingerlings and selective breeding for improved cold tolerance need to be developed.
The experiment further suggests that fingerlings should be sourced from a hatchery located within the same production area as those produced and farmed in the same geographic area are more productive since they are better adapted to the local environment.
“Fish farmers across the country need to look at aquaculture as a lucrative business. With this evidence-based results, farmers will be able to make informed decisions. We don’t want to replicate the quail story again in aquaculture value chain,” said Sven Genschick, a researcher at WorldFish .
Fish farming in Kenya is a major contributor to the country’s food nutrition security, income generation and employment.
Factors such as climate change, hyacinth, over-fishing and industrial pollution continue to adversely impact on marine and lake fishing.
“We want to create a tipping point in the industry. Although ‘eat more fish’ campaign in the country has borne fruit, farmers need to study the market first before venturing into fish farming,” noted Arnoud Meijberg, an expert at Kenya Market-led Aquaculture Programme(KMAP)
He cited that one of the major obstacles experienced by farmers is the extremely high cost of feeds.
“If that was to be addressed through e.g. government subsidies, the level of production would soar thus filling the existing supply deficit,” said Mr Meijberg.