Government launches programme in colleges to increase tilapia production

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The government of Kenya through the Ministry of Agriculture and in collaboration with other foreign ministries has launched the national aquaculture curriculum to promote and sustain tilapia farming in ponds within Lake Victoria catchment areas and across the country.

In partnership with the German Development Cooperation Agency (GDCA) and Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, the modular curriculum will be offered in vocational training institutions, polytechnics and colleges in the country.

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The course will teach on how to sustain the fish species population which is in decline at the Lake Victoria in turn helping promote clean environment while eradicating poverty through inspiring deviation into alternate fish-farming methods.

The curriculum which is backed by the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme, Africa’s policy framework for Agricultural transformation, wealth creation and food security, seeks to promote competency based hands-on training to enable fish farmers fully benefit from it.

“This curriculum is easy to use by farmers. It is currently running in institutions such as Ramogi Institute of Advanced Technology and Lake Basin Development Authority in Kisumu among others. It comprises 70 per cent practical hands-on aspects of learning and 30 per cent theory and through it, we expect to boost aquaculture to ensure the region’s tilapia output increases,” said Ladislao Di Domenica, the programme’s deputy manager.

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The initial two-phased Trilateral Tilapia Cooperation, which was running in the country since June 2012 to December 2016 culminated in the development of the curriculum to continue offering insights to fish farmers to sustain their aquaculture activities, said Dr. Mathias Braun, GDCA’s Agriculture Programmes director.

The first phase focused on 10 counties in the Western Kenya region, with the latTer phase centering on up-scaling lessons learnt in phase one, and was implemented in Siaya, Bungoma and Kakamega.

“After providing the key knowledge to farmers, it was fair that we give them a means to learn more and develop their fish farming,” said Dr. Braun.

“So far results have been promising with 50 per cent increased profitability, a drop in ponds’ fish mortality rates, high reinvesting by fish farmers and private farms, increased yields and reduction in ponds’ maintenance and operation costs.”

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The curriculum will ensure that knowledge on aquaculture spreads across the country and boosts the fish-farming sub-sector which is showing great potential to develop in future.