By Dave Okech Okech Kisumu, Kenya
Let me tell you a tale about fish, or better yet, fish farming.
This fish-farming story, unlike many others, is 100% true. It demonstrates how technology can make ordinary people’s lives better in incredible ways.
My fellow Kenyans are farmers of fish. It is one of their main socio-economic activities. Their livelihood depends on fish farms, whether they are lake-based or land-based (pond-farmers). Lake Victoria. It is Africa’s largest lake and second-largest lake (after Lake Superior in the USA and Canada).
It is also home to many fish. Large and small fish farmers, both large and small, raise and harvest catfish, tilapia and other species beneath the waves and along the coasts.
It’s a difficult business. Smallholder fish farmers have poor access to high-quality feeds essential for healthy stock growth. Many of these smallholder fish farmers lack the technical skills and tools necessary to do their jobs effectively. For example, to produce excellent fish, you need to feed the right food at just the right time. This is based on growth cycles, water temperatures, and other factors that can be hard to track with precision.
Even if these fish farmers are successful, the market for their products has virtually no structure. Its chaos results in low prices which can lead to economic stress. Low prices are a source of social problems, as they fuel the notorious “low price” mentality. Fish sexTrade, which includes the exploitation of women, contributes towards the spread of HIV/AIDS.
This was something I witnessed for many years. My family is not fish-farming. My mother raised chickens and horticultural plants on the land, but I became a professional fish farmer as an adult. I was one of few farmers to have the opportunity to be trained by feed suppliers on basic skills in fish farm. However, I saw many of my fellow farmers struggle to access quality inputs and unstructured markets. This led to low prices and low output.
These experiences gave me the opportunity to observe and understand the fish-farming business. I was struck by the low productivity that is a major problem in Africa’s food production. Instead of dwelling on our dire situation, I saw an opportunity to improve.
We can do better. I came up with this idea. Idea.
I realized that a simple mobile app could transform fish farming if it could do three basic tasks: improve connections between farmers and suppliers so farmers can get the inputs they need; improve technical skills of farmers so farmers can raise their fish efficiently; and improve connections between buyers and farmers so farmers can earn fair prices on a market that is free from sexual abuse.
My company AquaRechThis tool is now available at. Our app allows farmers to buy inputs and then sell fish. It allows them to monitor water temperatures, feed conversion ratios, daily growth, and other important information.
The results are Impressive. The app helps farmers reduce their production costs by 35% and increase their yields by 60%. They are able to put more money into their pockets as a result.
It has many benefits. It improves their standard of living. It helps women resist the lures of fish trade sex. It is a great example of sustainable food production as fish farmers can use technology to do more with fewer resources. Our app supports environmentally sustainable fish farming by giving smallholder fish farmers access high-quality floating fish feed and precision feeding technology. This reduces pollution in lakes and rivers as well as greenhouse-gas emissions.
We are currently focusing on catfish and tilapia raised in Kenya by producers. We are growing rapidly in this sector. We plan to expand to other types and to work with fish farms in Tanzania and Uganda. These two countries have shorelines along Lake Victoria.
There is a lot of opportunity. The annual fish supply deficit in Kenya is over 450,000 tons. Today, 35,000 tons are sourced from local aquaculture. We import 50,000 tons from China.
I believe that Kenyans can produce up to 11 million tonnes of tilapia annually through technological improvements and market developments, such as the app developed by my company.
This is enough to supply our country’s seafood needs and to create a large export industry that makes it affordable, plentiful, and sustainable.
This is my story of fish farming. You can believe it, and it only gets better over time.
Dave Okech Okech, a fish farmer (tilapia), and small-scale chicken farmer in Kisumu Kenya. Dave has created the AquaRech app Help smallholder fish farmers. We provide information that can help them reduce production costs, increase yields, and make more profit. Dave is a member the Global Farmer Network. This column was written bywww.globalfarmernetwork.org