Catfish rearing can bring good income

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Fish farming is a lucrative business that has a ready market. Thanks to the growing popularity of fish in the country. The common fish species in the country are tilapia, nile perch and catfish.

For individuals seeking to engage in fish farming, the catfish is a viable option as the species is resilient to harsh climatic conditions and feed on a wide variety of feeds.

Getting Started

Pond Construction: Pond construction is the first step in preparation for fish farming. The pond should be shallow (about 0.5m deep). The bottom should have a slope with a drop of 2cm for every 1m long. The slope should be gentle to achieve proper drainage. It is advisable to engage the services of a professional in setting up the pond.

Source of water: The first thing to consider is the source of water. In an ideal situation, the source of water is a natural body such as a river. But, where this is not possible, creative ways of water harvesting such as water pans can be tapped into. The inflow and outflow should be equal to the pond volume over the period of one month. If the inflow is too low, water quality may suffer from oxygen depletion or accumulation of toxicants. Similarly, if the water outflow is too high, large amounts of beneficial algae may be flushed out from the pond. The pond should be full throughout the culture period.

Soil quality: Top soil is high in organic material and should not be used to construct pond dykes. Land should be composed of good quality soil, with little or no rocks. Areas with rocky, gravel, or sandy soil are not suitable for pond construction. The soil should be composed of 20% clay to minimize evaporation.

Fingerlings: Catfish fingerlings are available from local hatcheries including the government run Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KEMFRI) and private hatcheries such as the Makindi fish farm in Thika.

Feeding: Catfish need to be fed well to achieve the desired weight and to prevent them from feeding on other fish as they are carnivorous. Fortunately, Catfish feed on a wide range of foods, including: food remains, worms and algae. Protein is the key component when it comes to achieving the desired weight. Feeds rich in protein such as cotton seed cake should also be included.

Market: Depending on the production scale, one can sell Catfish in local markets and restaurants. A mature catfish weighing 1kg can fetch KSh 500 while a fillet is sold for KSh 700.

Where to get catfish fingerlings

Makindi Fish Farm: 0770 377 783

Kenya Marine Research & Fisheries Institute. http://www.kmfri.co.ke

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