The Aqua Shops consortium will focus on Nyando
and adjoining districts in Western Province
, as this is a high potential area for aquaculture where FARM-Africa
has experience working with local community-based farmers groups.
The area is much drier than the rest of western Kenya and despite large-scale commercial farming and irrigated agriculture in the area, a large proportion of the farmers are smallholders engaged in cultivating cash crops/subsistence crops with some livestock.
The region has a high potential for fish farming because of the soils and abundant water resources (streams, springs, swamps and rivers) in most parts of the region. Most soils in the region are well drained and volcanic, with clay/loamy soils common at the valley bottoms.
The region experiences two rainy seasons in a year, i.e. long rains between April- May, and short rains between September-October. The annual rainfall ranges from 1500 to 2000mm, with higher areas like Kericho
and Nandi Districts
getting even more rainfall. The temperatures range between 14 and 32 centigrade, which is within the range of temperatures conducive for fish farming.
Close to 60% of the households in the region are dependent on fish, either directly or indirectly, as a source of food or income. The majority of the fish ponds or farms are individual-owned, although a few are owned by women's groups, youth groups, self-help groups or other institutions.
Most of the farmers produce Oreochromis niloticus
(Tilapia nilotica) with the exception of some farmers in the highland areas who produce Tilapia zilli
The husbandry regimes employed by fish farmers within the region are mainly semi-intensive: fish growth is dependent upon a combination of natural pond food organisms (resulting from the fertilization of ponds with animal manure or more rarely chemical fertilizers) and the use of supplementary feeds. The production cycle varies from 6 months to 2 years with most farmers harvesting their ponds when it is convenient to them.
The reported yields range from 2 - 4.8 tonnes per hectare per year, though this is probably over-estimated.
Fish is either produced by the farmers for self-consumption or for sale.
Impediments to fish farming in western Kenya
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO
), in conjunction with the Kenya department of fisheries, has carried out a number of studies. Based on their findings, the key constraints to fish farming in western Kenya are summarized below:
- slow growth of fish due to lack of feeds
- lack of ready market to sell the fish, which causes some of the farmers to sell their fish at 'throw-away' prices
- insufficient stocking material at the fry production centres leading to inability to meet demand
- lack of training leading to some farmers still practicing poor management techniques, including not maintaining records of their business
- poor quality of field extension services and as a result poor husbandry and many farmers harvesting at inappropriate times
- feed producers using sub-standard ingredients (e.g. rice husks instead of rice bran) and also delays in supplying supplementary feed
- some fish farmers face problems relating to land ownership and access to water
The Aqua Shop approach, developed originally in Asia, was designed to overcome these constraints. The RIU Commissioned Work programme will introduce and expand the concept and test its efficacy in Kenya.
Kenyan Agricultural Research Institute
(KARI), on behalf of the consortium, will investigate how the model can be adapted for northern Kenya where production potential is less but the need for local livelihoods and sources of fresh fish is greater.
To address the constraints faced by the fish farmers in Kenya, to meet the growing demand for fresh fish and to engage smallholder farmers more actively in this process, a three-tier franchise system is proposed:
- franchisor: owner of franchise model and supplier of key resources
- franchisee: Aqua Shop operator
- producer groups: smallholder fish farmers
The original researchers are leaders in the field of aquaculture in the context of development and in identifying and promoting a supportive policy environment, with over two decades of experience each.
are highly experienced in market research, which will further clarify where existing businesses may be interested in developing the franchisor and franchisee components of the model, whilst recognizing that the establishment of new businesses is essential to the growth of the industry.
The consortium includes experienced suppliers of training and mentoring in the small business context in Kenya.
has nearly ten years experience in facilitating access to animal health services in East Africa. Veterinary shops, set up to provide access to affordable, quality animal health services to livestock keepers in Meru
, are now being developed as a for-profit business based on a franchise model to be expanded to all the regions of Kenya.
It is possible that the Aqua Shops franchise could become a subsidiary of this livestock business. KARI will promote Aqua Shops (including in the semi-arid areas) and will convene government partners in the understanding of need and development of a supportive policy environment.
The model will be operated as a for-profit business, but one which meets a vital and widely acknowledged social need and that is capable of delivering both private and public services.
The basic components of the business model are:
- to identify a franchisor with the capacity to establish and support a network of franchisees in Kenya
- the franchisor will establish an Aqua Shop in Kenya to serve as a model for recruiting franchisees
- the franchisor will recruit two types of franchisee: for areas with high aquaculture potential and for those where potential is lower but the benefit to local livelihoods and food security needs is high
- high potential area franchisees will operate in more accessible areas, with more established markets, thus generating higher potential incomes. They will have a social impact through providing quality services at affordable prices
- low potential area franchisees will operate in more remote areas, or new markets, providing much of the direct social and economic impact of the business.
There will be up to 10 franchisees in Kenya servicing 10 out-growers each with approximately 10 members each, supporting in total up to 1,000 out-growers.
The work plan for the Aqua Shop initiative aspires to build services, share best practice and support policy development. The RIU Commissioned Work
initiatives will pursue the following objectives:
- establish Aqua Shops franchises that result in up to 10 locations in Kenya, with up to 10 out-grower groups (10 members) associated with each, for a total of up to 1,000 farmer-clients
- disseminate best aquaculture development practices in appropriate local languages to consolidate existing research, improve access to information and links amongst out-growers, private hatcheries, quality seed and fingerlings suppliers, and to prospective and current fish farmers in Kenya
- understand the likely policy, structural and regulatory changes to be created or revised to improve opportunities for commercial and small-scale aquaculture development, in order to contribute to appropriate changes in Kenya
It is anticipated that this process will the develop Aqua Shop franchises as an on-going, successful, commercially-viable, stand-alone enterprises that is not dependent on further investment.
Phase 1 (June 2010 - December 2010)
Involves planning and setting up the Aqua Shop initiative, including accounts, contracts, travel logistics, reporting structures, operational and communications processes, monitoring and evaluation processes and establishing and briefing the steering group. There will be an in-country workshop to launch the initiative.
An Aqua Shop Market Study [Output 1.1] will be conducted, the franchise scheme will be finalized and promoted, and links with service and goods suppliers, information and banks will be established. Information needs will be assessed [Output 2.1], and information packages developed, sourced, translated, adapted and tested [Output 2.2]. In addition the policy issues will be assessed in-depth with specific reference to western Kenya [Output 3.1] and initial links made with policy players.
In the second quarter, franchisors and a lead Aqua Shop will be set up at an appropriate location in Kenya [Output 1.2] as potential franchisees are engaged.
Phase Two (January 2011 to June 2011)
Franchisees will start operation and continue to receive support throughout the initiative [Output 1.3]. The monitoring and evaluation system will also start providing formative information - which will impact on the how the initiative develops.
The information packages will be rolled out, reviewed and revised with each batch of franchisees in turn. Policy players will be engaged in a consensus-building process, resulting in policy change priorities [Output 3.2].
Phase 3 June 2011- December 2011
As Aqua Shops continue to operate and are supported in the third phase, there will be an assessment of the sharing of best practices through the information packages [Output 2.3]. The initiative will culminate in the submission and follow-up of findings and policy change priorities with government decision-making bodies in the relevant departments in western Kenya and in the country as a whole [Output 3.3].
The aim is to develop longer-term involvement of the consortium partners, aimed at several years of consolidation as commercial partners with the Aqua Shop franchises and out-grower groups. This work should impact on the policy initiatives and at ensuring that structures help build strong structures at local, district, regional and national levels and support community and commercial aquaculture initiatives.