Some two farmers in Nyandarua County are betting on the cold weather provided by the dense Aberdare Forest to rear money-minting trout fish which requires water with a temperature of between 10 to 18 degrees Celsius to thrive.
For a long time, Daniel Gichimu has been known for Boer goats breeding at his Malewa Boer Goats farm in Ol Kalau. However, this changed two years ago after the goats business became inconsistent turning to trout fish farming, a venture he says is earning him good money now.
“I learnt of trout fish production from other farmers in the area who had experience in the venture and were finding it easy to keep the variety of fish due to the favourable climatic condition in the region,” said.
He, therefore, decided to try it out after buying some fingerlings at Sh45 each from the farmers which grew well to maturity.
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Although he says the new venture is labour intensive and expensive to run, trout fish sales returns are appealing due to the high demand in the area.
Currently, the farmer has two ponds, one at Ol Kalau in Nyandarua County while another at Tetu in Nyeri County and both are situated adjacent to Aberdare Forest that provides clean and water all year round through its many streams.
“Many consumers prefer trout to tilapia because of its nutritious content. It provides omega 3 and other micronutrients which are very important to for overall human physical and mental developments,” said Gichimu.
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He sells a fully grown fish at Sh500 to restaurants and hotels in Nyeri Town besides locals who come to buy from the farm.
For Gichohi Gachucha who started rearing trout fish six years ago within his five acres piece of land at Tetu in Nyeri County, the venture has been rewarding as the area provides conducive weather for the growth of the fish.
“I have an advantage as my trout fish farm is near the Aberdare Forest, where temperature ranges from 11 to 15 degrees Celsius,” said Gachucha.
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As an experienced farmer when waters exceed the required temperature, especially in the months of January and February, his fish are fed twice a day, sometimes once a day as denying the fish food, they produce less heat, hence keeping them going until the weather cools off.
However, when the water attains cools, they resume feeding the fish thrice a day.
With him, he chose on trout because many farmers in the area were into tilapia fish farming and trout could give him an edge in the market.
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He owns five ponds on a half-acre piece of land, where he has also constructed a restaurant which provides market for his fish besides selling to several hotels in Nyeri.
In a month, the former government radiologist says he sells 245 trout fish, making at least Sh245,000.
“There is a huge demand for trout fish, but the supply is low,” said Gachucha.
Caption: Framers harvesting trout fish. Photo NMG