Agriculture is perhaps the most important industrial activity in the world. While people may not require clothing, cars, phones, among several other items on a daily basis, they’ll definitely not go without food. And as a result, agriculture offers some of the best investment opportunities for entrepreneurs.
In Kenya, Nairobi boasts the single largest population of any place in the country, and the people are mainly consumers. This population gets its food from other parts of the country.
A taste of fish in the capital takes everyone’s mind to the lake side city of Kisumu, however, what many often do not know, is that the fish may be from nearby. Matter of fact, the fish you enjoy may be from Machakos, a semi-arid region, east of Nairobi.
In this article, WoK takes a look at Anthony Ndeto, a fish farmer based in Mua Hills, Machakos County who is the founder and owner of Kamuthanga Aqua Fish Farm. It is the only farm in East and Central Africa certified by the Africa Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO).
Kamuthanga Fish Farm
Ndeto established the tilapia fish farm in 2015 on a five acre piece of land. The farm however did not begin operations until two years later.
“The technology we initially had was made up of local materials and ponds. We then realised we could not do much with it and imported Sh5 million equipment to build one of a kind aqua farm, which consists of hatcheries, incubators, brooders, fingerling nursery tanks, swimmer up systems and a grow-up,” Ndeto was quoted as saying by the Standard.
The farm currently supplies over 200, 400-500 grams of fish to several leading supermarkets and Chinese restaurants in Nairobi.
“The Chinese firm picks live fish which we transport in a truck with water tank and oxygen cylinder with air filtration that gives the fish oxygen to their destination. The fish sell at between Ksh400 and Ksh500,” he told Smart Harvest.
Kamuthanga farm employs two types of brooders, YY technology and local technology. YY technology also known as Till Aqua is a fish imported from Netherlands and is purely a male species with YY chromosomes only. The collected eggs are given to a female fish to hatch, and produces a fish product named XY, while the local technology,
According to the farm manager Joseph Odhiambo, the local technology is purely local fish.
“To know which species of fish we have, we tag the YY technology male fish with a chip and have a scanner that when used to scan the fish gives a code of the fish, each of the tagged fish has a particular code number and a name, for example we have Akinyi, Adhiambo, Mweni, so on and forth. The local fish is not tagged making it easy for separation,” Odhiambo says.
According to Patrick Maina, the farm’s assistant farm manager at the time of the interview, when male fish are ready to lay eggs, they turn yellowish or pinkish to attract females and the from there, fertilisation kicks off.
“When a male fish turns pinkish or yellowish, the female species automatically knows the male fish is ready to lay eggs, it (female) then approaches the male for fertilisation, the female fish then keeps the eggs on its mouth for 12 days,” said Maina.
“We then pick the eggs from the mouth of the female fish after 12 days, using a double net, with the first net used to filter unwanted materials from the eggs, while the second net picks the eggs.”
Separation of the eggs is done by an adjustable grader, and during this process, the bigger fast-growing eggs are separated from the smaller-slower growing eggs. The separated eggs are then placed in six different incubators according to size.
Adjustable graders give the fingerlings an opportunity to grow uniformly.
“Placing fast growing fish together with slow growing ones leads to cannibalisation,” Ndeto explains.
He explains that the fingerlings are placed in nursery of 70 reservoir tanks with a capacity of 4000 litres each. The one gram fish are placed on controllable temperatures, a humidity of 26 degree centigrade, and are then left to grow for 40-45 days into 50grams.
After growing to 50grams, the fish are transferred to the grow-out where the final process of fish growing is done, in the grow-out, the fish is fed with fish food bought from animal feed stores.
They have 50 cubic meters ponds, each square meter can hold 135 fish in a controlled environment, from which the fishis left to grow for between four-five months into between 400 grams-500 grams.
Awards and Recognitions
Kamuthanga Aqua Fish Farm is the only farm in East and Central Africa certified by the Africa Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO). It received the platinum certification on March 8, 2019, at an event held at Sarova Hotel in Nairobi.
The farm was also the first to receive the EcoMark Africa (EMA) label in Africa, in an event graced by ARSO President, Dr Eve Gadzikwa and Secretary General, Dr Hermogene Nsengiana. Dr Gadzikwa said the farm was recognised for propagating modern aqua fishing and operating ecologically with the environment.