A 68-year-old retired journalist is making fortunes after embracing fish farming for food security in Ndamunge Runyenjes in Embu County.
Speaking to KNA at Ndamunge in Runyenjes, Alfred Kiarie said that he ventured into fish farming when he realised the ballooning fish market in Embu.
Kiarie who has been in the media for 26 years, said that the rise in fish consumption demand was as a result of fish consumption advocacy campaigns initiated by Aquaculture Business Development Program (ABDP) and Embu health department.
He said that ABDP and Embu health department put up a spirited campaign to educate Embu residents on the benefits of fish eating, which lead to the increased fish consumption demand.
Kiarie, who now boasts of having nine pods, said that he started fish farming with only one pod in 2018 when he retired from the media.
Despite achieving this milestone, he said that his fish farming journey has not been a walk in the park as it has been characterized with high cost of pods construction and shortage of fish feeds.
“Getting to this level has not been a walk in the park because I have faced challenges of high cost of pod construction and shortage of fish feeds,’’
The retired journalist added that a predator’s challenge forced him to construct greenhouses for his pods so as to keep away the predators.
Kiarie said that greenhouses have helped him keep the right temperatures for proper development of his fish.
“Greenhouses protect fish from predators. This area is also very cold which doesn’t go well with fish and that is why I preferred greenhouses as this helps maintain right temperatures which is very important for fish development.’’
He added that low temperatures cause a stunted growth in fish and his idea to rear them in greenhouses helps in evading the vice.
“When I ventured into fish farming, I encountered a challenge of fish feeds which were not readily available in our local markets, so I was only left with a solution of importing the fish feeds,’’ he said.
Kiarie said that after importing the fish feeds for a period of time, he decided to start manufacturing his own fish pellets using locally available materials like shrimps and canola enough for his farm.
He said that the materials are readily available and that nothing should hinder other farmers from investing in fish farming.
Kiarie, whose harvest comes after an interval of eight to ten months, said that he harvests at least 1,500 pieces of fish per harvest with a single fish selling at Sh400.
“Fish farming is very tedious, it calls for one’s determination and commitment, because you have to always keep an eye on the fish to ensure that it doesn’t skip any developmental stage,’’ he said.
“You cannot mix mature fish with fingerlings as they will be fed on by mature fish. This calls for a farmer to keep a close eye on the fish by ensuring that you separate mature fish with fingerlings every week because some fish grow faster than others,’’
Kiarie, who encouraged Embu residents to venture into fish farming, lauded the state department for fisheries, aquaculture and blue economy for donating fish farming equipment and extension services to fish farmers in Embu to help boost fish farming.