A delegation from the Government of Kenya and IFAD led by the ABDP Deputy Program Coordinator Mr. Isaac Wamalwa, today visited the Thur Dibuoro Aquaculture Field School – Self Help Group at Mr. Moses Obong’o’s fish farm in West Nyakach ward, Kisumu County.
The aim of the supervision mission was to check on the progress of the Aquaculture Business Development Program and its impact on the livelihoods of the fish farmers within West Nyakach Ward, Nyakach Sub County.
The ABDP which is part of the Big 4 agenda, is an initiative supported by IFAD in partnership with the State Department of Fisheries and Blue Economy and fifteen Counties of which Kisumu County is part, targets to achieve 100% food and nutrition security and income that will benefit 35,000 households.
The program was initiated as a deliberate effort by the two levels of Governments to spur growth in aquaculture sub sector to promote smallholder aquaculture production through aquaculture field schools in response to the declining capture fisheries that has increased the demand for fish, which has occasioned fish imports to meet deficit though with serious quality concerns.
The Thur Dibuoro aquaculture field school self-help group formed in January, 2021, with 30 members comprising 11 adult male, 8adult female, 4 female youth, and 7 male youth.
Previously the group practiced subsistence farming in 30 ponds where the majority did not meet the required standard of 300m2 with a low production of averagely 30Kg per farmer.
After undergoing training under the ABDP, today the group takes pride on increase on the number of standardized ponds to 45, out of which 30 have been stocked with 25,000 fingerlings of Tilapia and 5,000 catfish. Further to that, 7ponds have been harvested yielding 700kgs, earning an income of Ksh. 245,000 to the group.
Meet Mr. Moses Obong’o the host, also one of the youths in the group, lauded by the guests for exemplary integrated fish farming he has initiated in his home.
He has embraced the circular economy model farming by adopting and localizing the recirculating aquaculture system in his farm as a response to climate smart innovation to mitigate the extreme climate change of dry spells experienced in Kisumu.
He pumps water from a bore hole into the ponds and water from the pond outlets, he uses to produce an assortment of vegetables in cone gardens and maize to feed the family and even sell the surplus.
Besides, he keeps poultry and from the poultry waste, he produces earth worms that he uses as an alternative feed to the fish.
Moses currently owns three ponds, two of which are earthen and one is raised pond. He recently sold off a harvest of 90Kgs from one of the non-standardized ponds indicating good progress. Two ponds are currently stocked with over 1, 500 fingerlings although he says he would stock up to 4,000 fingerlings comfortably should he acquire aeration pump that increases the oxygen supply in the ponds.
Through his best practices at the farm, Moses has influenced his brother who has also constructed his pond and stocked. So far, the home has four active ponds with a fifth one is being constructed.
Moses like any farmer in their group, though determined and making steady progress has a fair share of challenges ranging from inadequate water supply, land ownership issues, as a youth, he is relying on the family land to farm, costly and lack of access to quality fish feeds and fingerlings.
Speaking during the visit, the ABDP Deputy Program Coordinator Mr. Isaac Wamalwa, said he was pleased by the exemplary work he has witnessed in Mr. Moses Obong’o’s home and promised to use the farm for a bench marking mission by other counties. He implored on the group members of Thur Dibuoro to emulate the same in their farms and teach other community members to adopt the same in order to attain food security and earn income.
He also pledged that they would continue work closely with the County Government of Kisumu to realize the goal of the project.
On her Part, the Chief officer for Livestock and Fisheries, Madam Rosemary Raluoch, thanked the delegation for the visit and IFAD for the support of the 15 counties where Kisumu is part to transform the fisheries sub sector.
“We have realized the transformation from the activities initiated by the ABDP catalyzing the sub sector. This has given us an impetus on how we can leverage on the support by IFAD,” said the Chief Officer.
She further outlined some of the efforts the county Government has put in place to support fish farming which include: distribution of fingerlings, trainings, laying of infrastructure such as cold storage facilities to support farmers during marketing promising to strengthen such support to improve the livelihoods of farmers and boost food security in the region.
Also present were: Mr. Simon Mururi Ministry of Education, Emma Mburu National Treasury, Mr. Richard Abila IFAD Rome, Mr. Ronald Ajengo IFAD Nairobi, Dorothy Mugane IFAD Nairobi, Manouk Overkamp IFAD Nairobi, Esther Waweru ABDP Nyeri, Michael Waweru Snr. M&E officer ABDP Nyeri, Ruth Lewo Aquaculture Specialist – Regional office Kisumu, a host of County Officials from Fisheries department and Thur Dibuoro aquaculture field school self-help group.
By: Emily Mikwa