How farmer created market for his fish
The centre is home to a micro-processing factory named Fish Carnivore, which has turned out to be a ready market for fish farmers in Meru and its environs as aquaculture grows in the region.
The Sh6 million facility processes fish from the dozens of farmers in the region into various products that include fish sausages, samosas, kebabs, and burgers, among other delicacies.
Joseph Mutwiri, who owns the outlet with a partner, says they came up with the idea to promote fish eating culture and promote aquaculture, which was gaining traction in the region, but many farmers like him lacked market.
“We were losing fish, some farmers had even abandoned the agribusiness due to lack of market. The Sh60 million fish factory at Kanyekine, which was the reason many had started fish farming, was not in use,” says Mutwiri.
“I started with two ponds measuring 22 by 16 metres and added two more and stocked them as market was guaranteed at the market but after the fish matured, there was no place to sell because the factory had collapsed. I had to devise ways to sell fish,” he recounts.
He started selling fish on weekends at a spot in the town as he also directed customers where to get him during the week days.
After attending several seminars in and out of the country that did not bear fruits in terms of marketing, the two proprietors sat to discuss how they could sell fish in a region that had not embraced a fish eating culture.
However, there was challenge of how to finance the project as an NGO that had promised to fund them had a different idea that involved having consultants direct farmers to financial institutions.
Once the fish is collected from the farm, it is put in the coolers for preservation and safe transportation. At the factory, gutting and scale removing is done.
For the big fish especially the catfish, filleting is done, then the meat is minced. After mincing it, they add eggs and bread crumbs then deep fried to make the fish fingers.
Rita Nairuti of Mwea Aquafish farm says processing has enabled consumers eat fish in another form as compared to what they are used to.
Fish is among the healthiest foods on the planet and it’s loaded with important nutrients such as protein and vitamin D and it’s the world’s best source of Omega -3 fatty acids which is incredibly important for both body and brain and is packaged with many health benefits.