One of the main drawbacks on the economic operation of aquaculture investment in Kenya is a lack of deliberately kept economic records of production operations. Investors who operate without records are likely to make wrong decisions due to lack of information of what is happening in their farms.
The best sources of information needed to advice on proper running of aquaculture investments are properly designed and kept farm records.
What is record?
Record is information that has been systematically and carefully collected and appropriately stored for intended use. To be able to run any business successfully, carefully thought out, properly collected and kept records are a must. For the purpose of keeping track and decision making in any business, comprehensive and well kept records must be kept.
Just as in any other enterprise, properly collected and kept records are important in fish farming enterprises.
The records will:
- Be used in Determining profitability of various techniques of production or systems
- Be used to compare the efficiency of use of inputs, such as land, labour and capital, with that of alternative production activities
- Help the investor in improving the efficiency of farm’s operations
- Be used to preserve institutional memory of the enterprise for future reference.
Good records will, for example;
- Be useful in projection of expected production
- Be useful in determining the amount of inputs requirements for specific ponds at various stages of production
- Be useful determine the expected harvesting time
- Determine the financial health of the enterprise
Some important aquaculture records parameters include:
- Capital investment costs e.g. cost of constructing ponds, hatchery etc.
- Total area under culture
- Individual pond identity
- Individual pond treatments
- Stocking densities and time of stocking
- Species stocked
- Kinds, quantities and cost of inputs used
- Pond productions in amounts and values
- Other productions and values
- Daily occurrences
Classification of aquaculture records
Aquaculture records can be classified into:
- Daily records kept for input usage like feeds, fertilisers, labour and daily occurrence
- Occasional record which are kept for events that do not happen on daily basis. Such records would include:
- Specific pond production (Quantity and values) by species
- Costs of acquisition of inputs
- Cost incurred in new constructions or repairs
- Salaries (both in cash and in kind)
Level of record keeping
How much and how comprehensive kept records are, is dependent on:
- Level of investment; Complex investments require complex records
- Motivation of investor; Serious investors will have more comprehensive records
- Level of aquaculture management: Intensive operations will have more complex records as compared to semi intensive operations
- Skills of the investor (Or manager); Well trained managers will keep better records
As the management levels rises, culture systems become more complex and so is the record keeping. This is the reason the farmer must think very carefully of what he needs to record.
Examples of aquaculture records:
- Fish farming biological management records
- Financial management records include:
Ø Purchase of inputs
Ø Sales records
Ø Salary records
Ø Inventory of equipment
Ø Records on payment of rents and hire of equipment, machinery, services etc
- Occurrence book
It is very important for individual farmers to clearly know what they need recorded and the intended use of this. This will assist them in preparing the most effective way of capturing the needed information.
Some examples of simple aquaculture records would include (but not limited to) the following:
Please note that all produce that is lost through spoilage, being undesirable to the market etc, should be captured in the records
Other records to consider include:
- Salary / wages records
- Farm inventory records
- Records on payment of rents and hire of equipment, machinery, services etc
- Pond sampling records