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  • Director KMFRI Prof. James Njiru (right) with Deputy Director Freshwater System, Dr. Christopher Aura (centre) and Ag. ADF, Kenya Fisheries Services, Mr. Simon Munguti (left) during the Launch of Electronic Catch Assessment Survey (e-CAS) system and Stake Holder’s Engagement and dissemination Workshop on Environmental Clean-up and Mentorship Framework at Sosa Cottages in Vihiga County on 4 - 5th Jan, 2021
  • Director KMFRI, Prof. James Njiru (seated, 3rd left), ECOFISH representative Mr. Kundu (seated, far right) and Inland Director of Kenya Fisheries Services Dr. Wamalwa (seated, 2nd left) with participants during the planning meeting for the Lake Victoria Frame Survey 2020 on 30th November, 2020 in Ahero, Kisumu County
  • Dr. Edward Kimani giving his presentation when ARCH Emerging Markets with Partners from IDC - Industrial Development Corporation from South Africa visited KMFRI on 12th November, 2020, the engagement revolved around an overview of the blue economy, KMFRI’s role in the blue economy initiatives, and KMFRI’s continued engagement/support in ARCH’s Cold Chain Sector investment in Mombasa
  • KMFRI team led by Dr. Christopher Aura Ag. Deputy Director Freshwater Systems (seated left) joined by the IFAD-ABDP's National Programme Co-ordinator, Mr. Sammy Macaria (seated right) on 29th September to 2nd October, 2020 for report writing workshop on the potential carrying capacity of fisheries production for small water bodies.
  • Director KMFRI Prof. James Njiru (left) with KARLO Institute Director, Dr. Theresia Munga had consultations on the development of KMFRI land in Mtwapa, Kilifi County on 30th September, 2020
  • Principal Secretary, University Education and Research, Amb. Simon Nabukwesi (centre) with CEO of National Research Fund (NRF) and KMFRI Director Prof. James Njiru (left) during a tour of KMFRI cage culture at Kibokoni, Kilifi County, a project funded by NRF on 24th September 2020
  • KMFRI Director Prof. James Njiru, gives a press briefing during the Kenya Climate-Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP) at KARLO, Naivasha. Prof. Njiru underscored the need for aquaculture farming saying that it is the only way that a country could meet the fish demand in the country as opposed to relying on capture fisheries.
  • KMFRI Director Prof. James Njiru (4th right) accompanied by Mr. Abraham Kagwima (3rd right) and Dr. Dr Peter Odote (far left) visited KEFRI Enterprises on 11th August 2020 to learn how their successful business wing works. The model is being adopted by KMFRI Enterprise.
  • Inception and sensitization meeting: The project implementation team is led by KMFRI with research scientists Dr. Kevin Obiero (left), Dr. Domitila Kyule, Ms. Fonda Jane Awuor and Esther Wairimu.

Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) in collaboration with International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) have successfully incorporated Black Soldier Fly larvae as an alternative animal-based protein ingredient in  local fish feed formulations.

The larvae replaces omena (fishmeal), which has been the main ingredient in fish diets. This has been possible through support from KMFRI and collaborative research efforts in INSFEED & SipFEED projects .

The news comes as a relief to fish farmers struggling with the high cost of fish feed, with increased operational expenses pushing many farmers out of the  fish farming venture.

KMFRI’s Head of Aquaculture Division Dr Jonathan Munguti says many households in Kenya have incorporated omena in their day-to-day diet. This, he adds, has increased demand for the fish feed ingredient and created unhealthy competition. As a result, unethical business practices have taken root where traders   add sand and shells to manipulate the weight of omena in a bid to rake in higher profits. This has rendered the ingredient unreliable in fish feed production.

Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae grow well in a variety of substrates including cow dung, kitchen waste, brewers waste and chicken droppings, making it cheap to grow. The larvae’s protein level is over 45% crude protein which makes it a practical and viable replacement for omena in fish feed formulation.

 “Cost associated with fish feeds is key in determining whether farmers will stay in business. Fish feeds take over 50 per cent of the total operational costs and farmers must get it right,” said the Aquaculture nutrition research scientist Dr Munguti. “The choice of ingredients, their cost, nutritive content and availability impact on the final product.” Is impressive to see local feed manufacturers invest in fish feed production which has been a big breakthrough to the sector

Dr Munguti however indicated the high cost of feeds is not unique to Kenya, but is a global challenge. “The problem in Kenya is attributed to the quality of raw material, specifically fishmeal (omena) which is used in fish feed formulation locally,” he said.

He adds that numerous tests in the past failed to provide an effective alternative to omena.

According to Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), Black Soldier Fly  can also be used as an ingredient in a variety of feeds for poultry, pig and dairy cows.

The impact of climate change has left some parts of the world vulnerable to hunger and poverty. And in an effort to cushion countless households staring at the grim possibility of losing their livelihoods, the Kenyan government is investing heavily in fisheries to encourage farmers to take up fish farming.

The recently launched World-Bank funded project – Kenya Climate Smart Agriculture Project (KCSAP) – is currently running in 24 counties in Kenya. The aim of KCSAP is to promote fish farming across the country to increase fish production from the current 18,000 to 71,500 metric tonnes, and consumption levels from 4.5 kg to 10 kg per capita per year by 2022 through adoption of climate-smart aquaculture technologies, innovations and management practices.

KMFRI is leading local universities, research institutions and private enterprises in KCSAP’s aquaculture value chain programme, which is aimed at promoting and validating fish health management practices to enable farmers adopt fish farming as an alternative source of livelihood.

“Crop farmers who rely heavily on rain-fed agriculture to grow maize, beans and the like have been hard hit by the negative effects of climate,” says Dr Munguti.

“Aquaculture is a climate smart technology. And if well managed it remains lucrative regardless of the prevailing climatic patterns,” he adds, “You don’t need to campaign for farmers to embrace fish farming, you just need to demonstrate it’s a lucrative venture.”

Food security and nutrition is a key pillar of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda unveiled in December 2017.  Reduced cost of fish feed, which will ultimately lead to uptake of fish farming initiatives stand to contribute significantly to the achievement of the objective after decades of unreliable terrestrial agriculture, thanks to harsh effects of climate change.

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