By Prudence Minayo
Paul Murage, a holder of a Bachelor’s degree in International Business from the United States International University- Africa, is the proprietor of Pwani Fish and Hatcheries in Kilifi. This is a fish farm that grows tilapia, catfish and goldfish.
The business was born after he was involved in a car accident along Kilifi-Malindi road in 2012. It was this accident that propelled him into the fish business as he used the insurance compensation money as initial capital.
DON'T MISS: Stay informed with the latest news and interact with us on Instagram.
“I had the passion of keeping fish but didn’t have capital. However, the accident in 2012 was one of the things that pushed me into the business,” he told the Daily Nation.
Here is his story as told by WoK.
Training and getting started
To get started, he learnt about fish from farmers in Mtwapa and Kenya Marine Fisheries and Research Institute. Thereafter, he bought 500 tilapia and goldfish fingerlings and placed them in a small concrete pond he had initially constructed.
He grew the business over time and built more ponds. The fish are not just a source of income for him but they are also therapeutic. He gets visit from students from Pwani University and schools around the area who are interested in knowing about fish.
Growth and taking care of the fish
JOIN US: Stay informed with the latest Kenyan news and join the conversation on Telegram.
Today, he owns eight large ponds of 6m diameter and 22 small ones of 3m diameter. While the big ponds house the parent stock of about 800 fish, the smaller ones host 5,000 fingerlings.
The water level and temperature in the ponds are checked everyday at 6 in the morning. Oxygen is also pumped in whenever necessary. The workers feed the fish at 8am and clean the pond. They also harvest fingerlings in case an order has been placed.
His future plans involve modernizing the hatchery to make it easy to monitor the salinity of the water and the behavior of the fish. In the interview with DN, he said that fish do well in a clean environment hence it is important for water not to be contaminated from the source.
The feeding is very crucial as it determines the quality of the fish. Their fish are fed with starter flour, grower feed, and finisher feeds so that they can grow properly. They buy 12 bags of feed pellets at Ksh3,000 each on a monthly basis.
In order to minimize costs, they started farming black soldier flies in 2021 after buying a colony at Ksh10,000 in Nairobi. They are fed with fruit wasted and wheat bran.
For sustainability, he grows amaranth, bananas, and arrow roots in half an acre using wastes from the fish.
Prices and challenges
The fingerlings are ready to be sold about one month after hatching. Tilapia and catfish are more affordable as they sell at Ksh10 and Ksh15 respectively. However, an inch of goldfish goes for Ksh100.
According to him, fish is a very profitable venture that is not capital interview. He was quoted by the Daily Nation saying youths can start the business with Ksh20,000. This is enough to construct a 10 meter square tank and keep 50 tilapia fingerlings that can attain half a kilo in six to seven months.
One of the challenges include mortality of fish in the dry season as the water temperature becomes too hot for the fish. This is why it is important to build a shade on top of the pond. He also experiences threats from predators, such as birds.
JOIN OUR COMMUNITY: Stay informed with the latest celebrity news on our WhatsApp community or by messaging the number +41774793952.