Meteoric demand for fish drives aquaculture farming

fish-farmingA growing Kenyan population, expected to hit 55 million by 2020, will create demand for food which cannot be met by existing farming models. Fish farming is one sure way of meeting the anticipated demand according to researchers.

In Kenya, socio-economics are changing rapidly. The population is about to rise from 41 to 55 million by 2020 and the nations GDP will grow in this same period from $37 to $59 billion. Local suppliers are unable to meet the growing food demand and, consequently, prices are rising. The need for animal protein is intensifying, as well as the nutritional deficiency levels among a significant part of the Kenyan population. What could offer a solution?

According to Larive International, a market entry specialist focused on high growth markets, and their initiative FoodTechAfrica (FTA), which aims to improve food security in East Africa, the answer is fish farming. Through the establishment of a fully integrated aquaculture value chain, production could be improved. Compared to livestock, farmed fish are efficient in terms of water usage, feed conversion and greenhouse gas emissions.

This healthy source of animal protein offers substantial opportunities to improve food security, when produced in a sustainable manner. On top of this, investing in the underdeveloped Kenyan fish farming industry could result in an increased fish production and farming productivity, improved infrastructure and technical capacity, more efficient markets and encourages local entrepreneurship, thereby benefitting both commercial and small-scale subsistence farmers.

Research Africa was asked by Larive International to research the fish purchase and interest among Kenyans, in order to demonstrate the potential and feasibility of investing in fish production as a source of sustainable food security. Using an SMS survey, data was collected from around 300 respondents.

The survey questions centered on the consumption of fish in the Nairobi and Kisumu area and included topics as the frequency of fish consumption, type of fish consumed, points of sale and the price willingness to pay.
The collaboration between Larive International and Research Africa so far has been fruitful. The results will contribute to the investigation of the investment in fish production as a feasible source of sustainable protein food in Kenyan areas.