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Kenya's one-stop fish farming shop

Susan Otieno - Aqua Shop Coordinator, FARM-Africa Raphael Owaka Were - Aqua Shop operator, Oboch-Nyabondo, Nyakach district, Kenya Summary In western Kenya, six new shops have recently opened to supply high quality inputs to fish farming businesses. Called Aqua Shops, the shops are part of a franchise, and are managed by local entrepreneurs, who must invest in order to buy stock and establish their shop. Under the franchise model, all Aqua Shops stock the same inputs and also offer advice, information and marketing services. As such, they fit very well with recent government investment in fish farming, being implemented as part of a national economic stimulus programme. Franchised shops are rare in rural Africa, but could be an exciting way to improve the availability of services in farming areas. Suggested introduction In Kenya, the government is providing financial support to new fish farming businesses, as part of an economic stimulus programme. Currently, annual production from Kenya's fish farms is around 4,000 tonnes. But with the support programme, it's predicted that this will rise to 20,000 tonnes in the short term, and to as much as 100,000 tonnes in years to come. But if fish farming, also known as aquaculture, is to expand, farmers need a reliable source of good quality inputs, including fish food and water management equipment. To meet that need, a new chain of shops has been launched, called Aqua Shops. Six shops have recently been opened in western Kenya, with support from the NGO FARM-Africa and the UK funded Research into Use programme. From the official Aqua Shop launch, in the small town of Oboch-Nyabondo, Pius Sawa now reports. TAPE IN TAPE OUT DURATION "This is one of the six Aqua Shops ... ... and Aqua Shop is the answer." 5'09"

Suggested closing announcement Susan Otieno of FARM-Africa, on the new chain of Aqua Shops that have recently been opened to support fish farming in western Kenya. For further information Keith Sones - [email protected] Aqua Shops in Western Kenya - www.maendeleo-atf.org/News/aquashop.html Making the most of this interview ... What systems are in place in your country to ensure that agricultural inputs are genuine, not fake, and are not sold once they become too old to work properly? Are there any tips for farmers to protect themselves against spending money on poor quality inputs?

March 2011

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Kenya's one-stop fish farming shop

Susan Otieno - Aqua Shop Coordinator, Farm Africa Raphael Owaka Were - Aqua Shop operator, Oboch-Nyabondo, Nyakach district, Kenya Transcript Sawa This is one of the six Aqua Shops in western Kenya, that is being piloted to develop fish farming in rural areas. Susan Otieno from FARM-Africa is the person coordinating the Aqua Shops in this area. She explains what an Aqua Shop is. It is a one stop shop for all the fish farming needs a fish farmer could have. Any fish farmer who visits the shop should be able to get the inputs, the products that a farmer needs to carry on fish farming. And we are encouraging, as a project, commercial fish farming. So any farmer who comes into an Aqua Shop will be able to get certified or quality assured products from the food, the implements you need to construct a fish pond. We have the harvesting equipment as well. We have the water quality management equipment. We also have the information materials. And our Aqua Shop operators have been taken through the training and they are able to support the farmer to understand the safe use of the products, as well as to understand the use of the information materials in the shop. Apart from that we have started now working slowly with the Aqua Shop operators to be centres for market linkages for the farmer. This we are doing, we are already talking to a number of collaborators and we are setting structures that will help the Aqua Shop operators to link the farmers to the markets, so that they are able to sell their produce at a good price. Thank you very much Susan and let me now talk to one of the Aqua Shop operators. My name is Raphael Owaka Were. Definitely when somebody is coming here he will first of all see the sign board that this is an Aqua Shop and once he says he wants this, we go another step by capacity-building before we issue out whatever item he wants. For example, now we have fish nets. Somebody wants to harvest. We say, one we have regulations from the government. We have the fish nets meant for ponds. So if you have to go and use it in your pond, we are specific with a colour which we have proposed - we have blue. And then if you want to go to capture that is the lake, we have the white. So we have to explain every type of thing or item or net or whatever it is to the buyer. The Aqua Shop model is being operated on a franchise system which is yet to fully develop, according to Susan. Originally our project proposal was based on the franchise system. Because the kind of service and products you get in any of the six Aqua Shops we have established will be the same. Any Aqua Shop you walk into you will get the same kind of information. You will get the same quality of products. Right now the standards they are being guided by have been developed by stakeholders through the leadership of Ministry of Fisheries Aquaculture Working Group. But as we develop we look forward to having somebody else taking the role of controlling quality at a higher level and taking over what the Ministry is doing now, to certify suppliers who can supply to the Aqua Shops.

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Otieno

Sawa Owaka

Sawa Otieno

March 2011

Sawa Otieno Sawa Otieno

How much does someone contribute to... Having such a shop? Yes, yes. We did a market research and the market research was basically to get to know the viability of an Aqua Shop within the pilot districts that we are operating in. We realise that every Aqua Shop, they need a maximum of 350,000 (Kenyan shillings) to stock. How much is that in terms of dollars? Let's simplify it to the Euro which is normally rounded off to a 100. So if you divide 350,000 by a 100 you get 3500 Euros. That is the maximum that an Aqua Shop operator requires to fully stock his shop with products that can serve the clientele that are around them. And how are they getting that support to stock, because it is a lot of money? When we went out to ask for entrepreneurs who were interested in running the Aqua Shop, that was one of the conditions we had put in the call for application. And all the entrepreneurs who eventually succeeded, they were willing to spend the money. But apart from that, as FARM-Africa, we are talking around it to see what support we can give and we are also talking to partners, to see what support we can give and in what form can we give this support, so that they are able to have all the stock they require. Currently you are only operating in western Kenya. Is there a possibility of rolling out this into the rest of the country? Currently all farmers under the government support are being supplied inputs from the government. The government is weaning them off, but once they are weaned off where are they going to get the kind of inputs they require? They cannot all travel to Nairobi, where most of the input suppliers are based. They need a local centre where they can access their inputs and Aqua Shop is the answer. End of track

Sawa Otieno

Sawa Otieno

Sawa Otieno

March 2011

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