Why fish imports from China don’t worry me
The venture, however, did not go well as he would only get 35 litres of milk from the four lactating animals.
“I was ready to start my fish venture after the course. I started it at the space the cows occupied and named it Avil Fish Farm,” says Ruhui.
His first pond was 20 by 15m in which he stocked 1,600 tilapia fingerlings he bought from Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Sagana at Sh7 each.
He has set up a hatchery in a greenhouse from where he breeds his fingerlings that he sells at Sh15 each. He also restocks his ponds with the fingerlings.
“I use cow and chicken manure to stimulate growth of algae in the fish ponds. Fish feeds on algae which make them mature faster,” he offers, adding he also gives the fish commercial feeds.
The 57-year-old sells tilapia to households and specific hotels in Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Nakuru, with a kilo of the fish going for an average of Sh400.
However, the ready market is not the only reason he is not a worried fish farmer. Ruhiu makes sausages from fish filling a gap in the market flooded with pork and beef products. He has set up a mini-factory to process the sausages.
“I set up the factory out of frustration. I would wait for eight months to sell my fish at Sh400 per kilo but when I ate the same fish in a hotel I had sold to, I had to cough Sh1,700 for it. I realised I was not fulfilling my potential.”
After getting his catch from the ponds, he cleans it, and descales from the head to tail before filleting.
He then freezes it for up to 10 degrees Celsius to kill all pathogens before processing, with the machine offering him 150 sausages per hour.
“The demand for fish sausages is high that I cannot satiate the market. I have been supplying to three major supermarkets in Nyahururu Town every day and customers want more,” he says, adding he sells a kilo of fish sausages at Sh700.
To run the farm and make the products, he has licenses from the county government, Ministry of Health and the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
Domitila Kyule, a research scientist at KMFRI, Sagana, says for one to venture into such business, they must have knowledge in aspects of production and value addition.
“It is a new venture and has great potential because people are looking for white meat products. Fish has several nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for growth and development, besides being a source of protein.”