Potato farmers from Nyandarua County who had lost hope in farming the tuber crop due to reduced yields and low prices in the market have found a reprieve after venturing in fish farming via ponds.
At Mairo -Inya, Ndaragwa Sub County, farmer David Waruhiu, has warmly embraced fish farming and is already enjoying the returns and profit that comes along with it.
He says that fish farming has now become a profitable venture and a good source of income for him.
“If you compare the two ventures, the land we used to cultivate potatoes and the land we are using to farm fish, it’s so evident that fish will produce almost ten times the profit of cultivating potatoes on the same size of land,” said Waruhiu.
“The people of Nyandarua should know that no fish will ever rot in the rivers, dams or ponds, unlike potatoes which are likely to rot before harvest. The beauty is that buyers prefer to harvest the fish they need and that reduces losses,” said Waruhiu, smiling as he demonstrated how he feeds his fish.
Grace Wamuyu, a farmer at Kiriita said that through the help of a community group-training programme she was able to learn how to rear fish profitably on her two-acre farm in a raised pond.
“Since I started to rear fish on my farm three years ago, I have made good profits from the venture and have seen that it is not as labour- intensive as cultivating other crops. I also compound my own feeds which reduces the cost of inputs and ensures that I can make a bigger profit margin,” she said beaming.
Fisheries Officer Francis Waweru said that Nyandarua County is one of the counties that can highly benefit from fish farming compared to other counties in central Kenya because of the suitable climate for the rearing of fish varieties such as trout that retail very profitably for the farmer.
“There are parts of this county, especially around the Aberdares whereby this fish does very well because it matures at its optimum in cold temperatures. A full grown fish is currently retailing for the price of Sh500 per mature fish, the minimum rate in hotels and at the farm gate sales that is important in changing the fortunes of farmers,” Waweru said.
By Emmaculate Wanjira