Monthly Archives: January 2014

Fish farms can create wealth at the bottom;

Posted Wednesday, January 15 2014 at 18:42

The State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture report (2012) from the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) states that the average per capita consumption of fish hit a record high of 19 kilogrammes in 2011, supplying over three billion people with at least 16 per cent of their average animal protein intake.

This increase, the report says, was due mainly to the ever-growing production of aquaculture, which is set to overtake capture fisheries as a source of food fish.

Total production hit 154 million tonnes with a total value of $218 billion. The sector has become increasingly important with more people eating fish like never before and more people than ever are employed in or depend on the sector.

According to Private Sector Development in Agriculture (PSDA) and GTZ, in 2013 the value of total fishery in East Africa region was about US$ 600 million when both the local and export sales values are considered. More than $200 million of the regional value comes from Rastrinobola argentea (popularly referred to as omena).

Omena is a sardine-like fish which is silvery in appearance and measures about three inches long and is endemic to Lake Victoria.

This fish plays a significant role in the livelihoods of more than four million people in terms of employment, income and provision of nutrition thereby ranking it as the most important fishery in its contribution to the local and East African regional economy.

The share of Kenya’s revenue from fishing is less than $50 million when export markets are considered. More than 70 per cent of omena production in Kenya is marketed through the animal feed industry channel leaving less than 30 per cent for human consumption resulting in serious competition for the commodity between direct human food and raw material for animal feed.

For many years, more than 90 per cent of fish came from Lake Victoria and was mostly capture fishing, leading to serious shortage of animal protein both for food and animal feed.

Lack of quality animal feed has pushed the price of poultry to the extent that chicken produced in Brazil and landed in Kenya is cheaper than local varieties.

Although Kenya is ranked among the top 10 aquaculture producers in Africa, its total production in 2010 stood at 12,154 tonnes compared to 95,000 tonnes in Uganda. Egypt and Nigeria produced 919,585 and 200,535 tonnes respectively in the same period.

We are clearly not doing well in total fish production both in capture fishing and aquaculture. This is largely due to small-scale, low-technology, subsistence fishing practices, particularly using traditional techniques such as rod and tackle, throw nets and drag nets, and traditional fishing boats.

In capture fishing both in our lakes and coastal regions, there is no serious commercial fishing.

While we have started to deal with the supply side of fish, mostly through aquaculture, it is the middlemen who take the lion’s share of the returns.

Although they are an important conduit to markets, they exploit poor fishermen. World over, such exploitation is dealt with through a formal fish auction.

The auction will provide transparency in the industry and create a marketing channel for fishermen and help them with quality improvement to get the best prices for their catch. The auction will also make certain that fishermen are paid the same day for their catch.

This is how we can deal with poverty at the bottom of the pyramid. It is time we stop politicians from colluding with middlemen to exploit those at the bottom.

The 2009 fisheries economic stimulus yielded positive results with many small- scale aquaculture farms throughout the country and truly benefited the poor.

We now need to actively develop the demand side before fish growers give up due to market saturation when it is evident that the market has not been fully exploited.

The American Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa) gives us an opportunity to export fish products to the USA, but we have not taken advantage of this opportunity yet we know for example that tuna fish, a multi-billion- dollar product, comes to spawn off the East Africa coast between January and July.

There is dire need to start value addition to fish products. Omega 3 as well as cod liver oil are nutritional supplements widely used globally that with minimal research, a local industry can be developed to improve on the demand side of fish.

Fish has shown us that we can overcome poverty. We need investment in modern fishing equipment, train our fishermen and discourage subsistence fishing.

With this, we can exploit available fish resources in the Indian Ocean as well as in Lake Victoria. Fish is big business.

Dr Ndemo is a senior lecturer at theUniversity of Nairobi and a former permanent secretary, Ministry of Information and Communication.
Source: Daily Nation newspaper online services.

7 Million Chicken Project provides Livelihoods to Retirees;

Published on Jan 9, 2014
In retirement, a number of Kenyans chose to go easy as their economic potential goes down. However a group of retirees in Nyeri County are defying the odds and engaging in farming activities to improve their earnings and livelihoods, while the youths are urged to embrace coffee farming in the county.

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Source: KTN Kenya TV news

Galana Kulalu Food Security Irrigation Project:

Published on Jan 9, 2014
The country is on the way to securing its food supply following the groundbreaking of the 250 billion shilling Galana-Kulalu- food project. The mega project will see one million acres of land put under irrigation over the next five years.

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Source: Ktn Kenya TV news

Published on Jan 9, 2014; by K24 TV
Kenya is expected to be a food secure nation by the year 2015. This following the launch of the Galana-Kulalu food security project in Tana river country, with the president launching the model farm that will see enough maize production in the country by the end of the year. According to President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya has full ownership of its reform agenda and his government is on the way of implementing it.

Source: K24 Kenya Tv news

Agri-business tips from millionaire Dairy Farmer

untitledAfter retiring, Kuseyo ole Sasai wasn’t sure what to do after serving the government for many years.

He explored various businesses before choosing to set up a greenhouse to grow tomatoes on a leased parcel of land in Narok County with Sh120,000 capital.

“The place was dry and rains were inadequate. Transporting water to the greenhouse was costly. I spent most of my income irrigating the land,” said Mr Sasai.

As income from tomatoes dwindled, he started planting garlic, vegetables and rearing dairy cows, naming the farm Saumu ranch

Saumu is a Kiswahili word for garlic.

The farm is divided into four parts. 20 acres are under garlic and courgette, and he rears dairy cows on another section. At the moment, he is considering putting up a camping site on one part which is adjacent to a river.

“The lower part of the ranch, which is largely undeveloped and scenic with a cliff, borders river Enkare Ng’osor. I plan to set up a camping site there,” Mr Sasai said.

“I invested about Sh2 million in dairy farming,” says the former director of the Kenya Dairy Goats Association. He borrowed much of the money from banks and invested in a water project for irrigating his land and watering animals.

Hard work and determination bore fruit and Mr Sasai soon broke even. Eventually, dairy farming outperformed all other activities. By virtue of his background, he had an upperhand in running the livestock business.

“I used to give farmers advice on how to keep dairy animals and even ventured into it on small-scale,” he said.


Four years since he launched his business, Mr Sasai now runs his outfit, Kuseyo Dairies in 74-acre ranch. It is a modern zero grazing unit with 11 Friesian cows which he bought at Sh100,000 each.

“I want to make a difference in the society. Maasai’s are poor yet they have vast land and thousands of cattle which bring them no value. I want to be an example of what we can do with our resources,” Mr Sasai said.

The farmer makes Sh300,000 per month from milk sales while garlic and courgettes fetch over Sh100,000. Each litre of milk attracts Sh45.

“The first thing one needs to do before setting up a dairy farm is to plant fodder and have sufficient animal feed. This is the kind of information I want to give my community members,” he said.

“I discovered that I needed to transform my community and bring about change by demonstrating that there are options other than the traditional way of farming which brings low returns,” he said.

To run his enterprise, he has employed six permanent workers and hires casuals when need arises.

“I am disappointed that my community members have poor work ethics. That is why I have to bring in workers from other parts of the country. But my strategy is to put one local in each section of Saumu ranch for a given period. As they learn, I want to support them to replicate this venture in their homes’’ he said.

Nearby schools and shopping centres provide steady market for his produce. Sometimes, however, the market is flooded with milk and other farm produce, said Mr Sasai, seeing many producers lower prices.

However, he overcomes this obstacle by capitalising on the regular customers such as schools, he said. The farmer shares a word of advice to those considering to venture into farming — conduct market research.

Successful agri-business, he said, must start with a study of the target market: “Before I started growing garlic and courgettes, I studied the market and established that it needed the products and that the returns were good,” he said.


Mr Sasai says that dairy cows are like humans; the more comfortable they are, the more milk they produce, and the more profit one makes.

He urges farmers to invest in cow mattresses if they want to increase milk output. To become a successful dairy farmer, he says, one does not need to be a livestock expert, all one needs is passion, information and keenness to learn from the successful pioneers

Posted Thursday, January 9, 2014 | By- Angela Oketch, Nation Media Group