Title: A comparative economic evaluation of framing of three important aquaculture species in Kenya

Final project
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Kenya; comparative economic evaluation; baitfish; rainbow trout; polyculture; monoculture.


Information on the economic viability of aquaculture is crucial for investors when assessing the feasibility of an aquaculture investment. Unfortunately, such information has been scarce in Kenya. This paper evaluates the viability of commercial culture of three aquaculture species in Kenya under four culture practices. These are: Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and African catfish (Clarias gariepinus), mainly produced using mono- or polyculture under semi intensive systems; and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) produced in intensive raceways and tank systems and semi intensive production of catfish juveniles for bait in the Nile perch fisheries of Lake Victoria. Assumptions for this evaluation were based on data from aquaculture research extension information from Kenya. Other information came from the author’s experience in the aquaculture extension service and as a trainer in extension service delivery. The evaluation showed all culture practices to be economically viable although at varying degrees. Culture of baitfish showed the highest viability and profitability of the four evaluated culture practices. This was attributed to its higher turnover rate compared to the others. However, an investor considering baitfish production should consider its diminishing market resulting from declining Nile perch production from Lake Victoria and the limited production zone restricted to the lake region. Monoculture of Oreochromis niloticus showed lower viability compared to the others. However, sensitivity analysis showed that this could be improved by enhancing productivity per unit value of input by using better fish breeds, feed with higher conversion ratios and efficient production management practices. Trout production, despite indicating best values for financial ratios, is limited by diminishing production zones and lack of appropriate feed. The success of aquaculture in Kenya will not only depend on the use of higher yielding species and efficient aquaculture production technologies, but also on the confidence of investors. For this reason, the Department of Fisheries of Kenya (DoF) needs to have appropriate information available to investors in their process of making economic decisions on aquaculture investments. 

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