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Kilifi farmer’s gamble with ornamental fish farming paying dividend

beauty fish decor
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Paul Mur­age Wachi­uri, a fish breeder at Mt­wapa in Kilifi County has ven­tured into beauty fish farm­ing, a prac­tice that is un­pop­u­lar among farm­ers in Kenya tar­get­ing party events to grow his in­come.

The idea dawned on Mor­age four years ago when his sis­ter had a wed­ding and had asked him for some beauty fishes as part of the event dec­or­a­tion. On real­iz­ing that guests loved the idea, he de­cided to in­vest in the rare ven­ture to tap into the niche mar­ket.

“Since then I have dir­ec­ted my ef­fort to­wards the pro­duc­tion of the beauty fish and mar­ket­ing via so­cial media, friends and re­l­at­ives to reach event own­ers and or­gan­isers who hire the fish at a fee de­pend­ing on the event dur­a­tion, the num­ber of the fish needed, and the event loc­a­tion,” said Mur­age.

In order to provide a full pack­age, he has also pur­chased trans­par­ent 1.5 litres ca­pa­city glass bowls in which the fish which are of dif­fer­ent col­ours are placed for dis­play.

He says that at the be­gin­ning people were skep­tical about buy­ing the idea but after wit­ness­ing how the fish col­ours the events’ din­ing tables among other places, or­ders have in­creased quite sig­ni­fic­antly over the years.

“I offer the ser­vices coun­try­wide with most of my cli­ents in Nairobi. I am some­times forced to buy more bowls de­pend­ing on cli­ents’ pref­er­ences es­pe­cially those hold­ing hol­i­day parties who are the ma­jor­ity,” said Mur­age.

beauty fish in bowls

RE­LATED CON­TENT: Fish breed­ers and farm­ers net profits with ‘beauty fish’

The aquar­ium farmer now tar­gets hol­i­days such as those of Decem­ber and New Year to get more cus­tom­ers and grow the ven­ture which is now six years old. His prices are flex­ible and open for ne­go­ti­ation de­pend­ing on the type of event or party and the num­ber of the fish a cli­ent or­ders.

Kenyan or­na­mental fish in­dustry is the fast­est-grow­ing or­na­mental in­dustry in Africa. It in­cludes loc­ally wild-caught mar­ine spe­cies and cap­tive-bred fresh­wa­ter spe­cies, ac­cord­ing to 2016 re­search by Mary A. Opiyo and other ex­perts on the Over­view of Or­na­mental Fish Pro­duc­tion in Kenya for Kenya Mar­ine and Fish­er­ies Re­search In­sti­tute (KMFRI).

Presently, the in­dustry con­trib­utes to the eco­nomy of the coun­try by gen­er­at­ing in­come through ex­port earn­ing, cre­at­ing em­ploy­ment and en­han­cing the live­li­hood of the fisher com­munity and fish farm­ers. The mar­ine or­na­mental fish in­dustry in Kenya has an an­nual col­lec­tion of ap­prox­im­ately 300,000 pieces of fish of dif­fer­ent spe­cies.

In ad­di­tion, the re­search in­dic­ated that the de­mand of or­na­mental or beauty fish presents a con­sid­er­able chal­lenge to con­ser­va­tion and man­age­ment of the aquar­ium in­dustry in Kenya as a res­ult of un­sus­tain­able fish­ing prac­tices that tar­gets ju­ven­ile fish mak­ing them vul­ner­able to de­ple­tion.

RE­LATED CON­TENT: Kenya\’s fish pro­duc­tion in­creases by 10 per cent im­prov­ing farm­ers’ in­come

beauty fish

Mur­age has since star­ted his farm called Pwani Fish Farm and Hatch­ery which sits within half an acre piece of land in Mt­wapa where he also raises fin­ger­lings that he sells to other farm­ers at Sh10 per seed.

The hatch­ery it­self which has also been ex­ist­ence for six years has a ca­pa­city of 100,000 fin­ger­lings though he pro­duces de­pend­ing on or­ders.

Mur­age can be reached on +254 737864911

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