A review on the potential of aquaculture development in Kenya for poverty alleviation and food security
On the global scene, aquaculture accounts for about 50% of total fish production amounting to about 80 million metric tonnes. It is estimated that another 40 million metric tonnes of aquatic food will be required by the year 2030. Today, fish farming represents the fastest growing sector of food production. Moreover, aquaculture has a major role to play in the achievement of the first three Sustainable Development Goals on poverty, hunger, food security and healthy lives of people from developing countries. This is significant especially in the developing countries where poverty and malnutrition are a reality. However, in sub-Saharan Africa, per capita fish production from aquaculture is still below world production levels. In Kenya, inland capture fisheries accounted for over 90% of the total national fish production while marine capture fisheries contributed about 5% in the last decade. Kenya has one of the fastest growing human populations in the world indicating that the demand for fish and fish products will continue to rise, increasing the gap between supply and demand. Currently, aquaculture only produces about 24,000 metric tonnes of fish annually compared to an annual average of 178,000 metric tonnes from natural fisheries. The dominant cultured species include: Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), African catfish (Clarias gariepinus), rainbow trout (Onchorhynchus mykis) and common carp (Cyprinus carpio). Culture systems commonly used are static ponds and raceway systems. In addition, the country is endowed with numerous aquaculture resources ranging from favorable climatic conditions to vast water resources. In the year 2009, the Kenyan government took steps to enhance aquaculture production through an Economic Stimulus Programme. This has increased the contribution of aquaculture in Kenya to 11.0% of the total fish production. This paper discusses the growth and development of aquaculture in Kenya during the last 50 years and the impact of government support to the sub-sector. The paper also proposes strategies for ensuring that Kenya becomes one of the leading producers of fish from aquaculture in Africa.
Key words: Fish production, capture fisheries, culture systems, Economic Stimulus Programme, aquaculture
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