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Rose Nyamunga scoops fish feeds from a bucket and sprinkles them in a fish pond. The fish scramble for the feeds.
Nyamunga, the Kisumu Woman Representative, owns the two-acre fish farm on the outskirts of Kisumu town.
The farm has six hatcheries, 10 fish ponds and several breeding cages. “Welcome to my fish farm,” says a cheerful Nyamunga.
The politician who also has a poultry farm, says she started the farm in 2013 with the help of her husband after realising the bulk of fish and eggs consumed in the region were from Uganda.
Most traders in the county import the items from the neighbouring countries through Busia and Serare border points because of low supply.
“It pained me that we were importing things that we can produce locally. My aim of starting the ventures, particularly the poultry business, was to try and provide local farmers with affordable but quality chicks to boost poultry farming,” says Nyamunga of the business that she invested over Sh4 million, most which went to buying incubators.
Besides the incubators, she further bought 5,000 fertilised eggs for hatching to get started. However, she has since contracted over 100 farmers keeping Kari indigenous chickens who supply her with fertilised eggs.
“We buy the eggs at Sh30 each, which is higher than the market price but still I have a huge deficit. All my 11 incubators have not operated optimally since I started,” she says.
Nyamunga only hatches 4,000 eggs yet she has a capacity of 40,000 after every 21 days.
“I am really in need of fertilised eggs to hatch because I want to empower our farmers. If there is a farmer out there with the quality I want, then he should supply me.”
She sells the chicks to farmers at Sh85 instead of Sh120 market price.
Bernard Otieno is among farmers who have benefitted from the low-cost chicks.
He keeps over 900 chicks at his home in Kisumu. “We pick the chicks after they have been vaccinated which helps in cutting costs,” says Otieno, who sells eggs.
Nyamunga says if the poultry and fish sectors are given the attention they deserve across the country, they can uplift the livelihoods of thousands of people.
“As Kisumu, we can export the eggs and fish to other counties and even to Tanzania and Uganda if people rear chickens and keep fish. Fish from Lake Victoria has dwindled thus we must embrace ponds,” says Nyamunga, who sells only male tilapia fingerlings to farmers at Sh3 each, instead of Sh5.
Most farmers, according to her, prefer the male fingerlings because they grow faster and do not divert energy into reproduction.
“I hatch both the male and female fingerlings but after birth, we place them in caged ponds where we reverse the female ones into male using feeds. The process takes 42 days, enabling us to have between 10,000 and 30,000 fingerlings after every two weeks.”
“On average, I sell over 20,000 fingerlings every month to farmers but demand is still double that amount,” she adds of the project that has so far reached 20 groups.
The poultry project, on the other hand, she says has reached 1,500 farmers but her aim is to cover the entire county, and if possible neighbouring ones.
She says that being in farming helps her spend time wisely when she is not attending to political matters as she reaches out to farmers who have bought her fingerlings and eggs.
“I know my projects can make a difference but I cannot do everything on my own. As I struggle to offer farmers chicks and fingerlings at subsidised price, the county should help me in reviving the ponds and promoting poultry farming.”