Kenyan tilapia farming businesses unlock aquaculture markets

Aquaculture production and the transformation of fish farming into efficient businesses can spur economic prosperity. In Kenya specifically, building a systemic approach for more sustainable and financially viable tilapia fish farming not only brings significant value to the sector but also for people in the fish farming business.

A continuous partnership between Lattice Aqua and IDH focusses to improve the productivity, profitability, and sustainability of fish farms in Kenya.

This is part of IDH’s ambition in Africa to establish long-term business relations between SMEs and off-takers, address domestic food demand and deficits, generate employment, and increase the intra-African trade of food commodities whilst safeguarding our environment.

Growing domestic and regional African markets have seen an increasing demand for fish and fishery products. However, the combination of population growth and declining sea fisheries has led to a supply deficit with most African countries relying on fish imports although there is ample opportunity to farm fish domestically.

In Kenya, the conditions for aquaculture practices for tropical fishes are optimal (due to high temperature and other local conditions), but poor cage and pond farming practices, lack of access to high quality feed and fingerlings, as well as affordable services (including finance) and management expertise has resulted in failing, inefficient and unprofitable fish farms.

The work with Lattice Aqua will see to improve fish farmer incomes, support SMEs and farmers to access markets and create work opportunities, while ensuring gender inclusivity. It is based earlier activities that verified the positive influence of a data-driven approach and is done through an integrated ecosystem approach.

This ecosystem includes the biggest feed producer in Kenya (Tunga Feed), the largest seed farms (Jewlet Enterprises and Kamuthanga fish farm), market off-taker (Aqua Rech), technical support from the Aquaculture Academy and financial institutions (Faulu Microfinance Bank and Juhudi Kilimo),

Through the cooperation, Kenyan tilapia farming will become a sustainable and profitable business, provide livelihoods and spur economic prosperity throughout the sector.

The success of fish farming depends on multiple key factors such as management practices, feed & fingerlings used, sales channels, and data collection. However, prior to getting these factors in place, future fish farmers should decide on the type of farming system to invest in. This decision could make or break the success potential of their farm.

Julie Muyela, Regional Head, Lattice Aqua