Fish Farming in Kenya: Best Business Guide

Commercial fish farming in Kenya is not a new business idea. Kenya is endowed with many aquatic resources with successful aquacultural potentials.

Highly varied climatic and geographic regions are available in Kenya, covering a part of Indian Ocean coastline, several large rivers, swamps and other water lands, a portion of the largest freshwater lake in Africa and all of those support an abundance of native aquatic species.

And all those water sources are contributing much for fish farming in Kenya.

Nowadays, commercial fish farming in Kenya has become a great income source and business idea for the individuals. As a result, numerous commercial fish farms can be seen throughout the Kenya.

Some of those fish farmers are farming fish for family consumption and some are farming in large scale for high profit. Al those small or large scale fish farms are contributing much in the total economy and nutrition demands in Kenya.

Benefits of Fish Farming in Kenya

There are many benefits/advantages of fish farming in Kenya. The most important benefits of fish farming in Kenya are listed below.

  • Weather and geographical location of Kenya is very suitable for fish farming business and setting up commercial fish farming in Kenya.
  • Numerous species of fishes are available which are highly profitable for fish farming in Kenya.
  • High demand and price of fish in the market.
  • Fish is a great source for food and nutrition. You can earn some extra money by setting up a fish farm along with meeting up your daily family demands.
  • Along with rapid population growth sources of employment are decreasing. Commercial fish farming in Kenya can be a great source of employment for those unemployed people.
  • The unemployed educated people can also start fish farming. This will create a working opportunities and earning livings.
  • Commercial fish farming also helps for proper utilizing of water resources of Kenya.
  • By using modern fish farming techniques, maximum production is possible. This will make the economy strong and ensure availability of required nutritious food.

How to Start Fish Farming in Kenya?

If you are thinking about starting fish culturing in Kenya, you need to consider some important factors that may affect the success and profitability of fish farming business in Kenya.

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Here we have mentioned step by step guide for starting this lucrative business in Kenya.

Selecting Land Area

Selecting a suitable land for fish farming is very important. For commercial production, earthen ponds are very suitable and it is mostly used culture units in Kenya.

While selecting lands keep in mind some necessary facilities which are must for fish culture.

The necessary facilities for fish farming in Kenya includes a good source of fresh water supply, type of the soil, availability of labors, good transportation etc. Consider the followings while selecting lands for fish farming in Kenya.

  • Try to select a which is relatively level. Generally, a slope about 1% is ideal. Steeply sloped lands are not suitable for building ponds.
  • Select the land by keeping in mind your future plans. Try to select a land which is large enough for all your fish farming activities.
  • Avoid the flooding and polluted areas.
  • Never select the land very close to crop fields. Because, various types of fertilizers and pesticides are used for crop production. This types of fertilizers and pesticides can causes danger in your fish pond.
  • It will be better, if the selected land become slightly lower than the water source. This will help you to fill the pond by gravity rather than by pumping. Gravity supplying of water will reduce energy inputs and fish production cost highly.
  • Ensure availability of a great water source like streams, lakes, rivers, springs etc. near the land. For better fish production, the quality and quantity of water plays a vital role.
  • Determining the quality of soil also very important. Soil with good quality ensures maximum production. So, the soil of the selected land area must have to good enough for fish culture. Rocky, sandy or gravelly soil is not suitable for constructing a pond. Soil with at least 20% of clay is suitable for holding water and constructing pond. However, after constructing pond apply necessary fertilizers for making the soil suitable enough for fish farming in Kenya.
  • Suitable transportation systems is must for marketing the fish and buying necessary materials from the market (food, medicines etc.).
  • A market near the farming land. Transporting the fish so far for marketing will reduce the price and quality of fish and increase the cost. So, select a land from where you can easily market your products.

Pond Design & Construction

After selecting a suitable land for fish farming in Kenya, it’s time to construct a pond. You have to choose a pond design according to fish species you want to produce.

Each type of fish species require special types of pond design to grow. After selecting the desired fish species, make a pond that enables your fish to grow happily.

Good designed pond according to the fish species ensures good health and maximum production.

Contact with your local fishery department to get some suggestions and ideas about pond design that are suitable for each type of fish species.

Selecting Fish Species

Along with good site and well constructed pond and other good facilities, selecting proper fish species is most important.

Selecting fish species for fish farming in Kenya depends on the market, climate, weather and farm location. Tilapia fish has a huge demands among all the fish species available in Kenya.

And almost all people of Kenya prefer tilapia fish. You can also start culturing some other fish species that has great demands in the market like african catfish, trout, olanda, common carp, various types of carp fish, gold fish, koi fish etc. Keep in mind the followings while selecting perfect species for fish farming in Kenya.

  • Select those species that has a great demands in the local market.
  • Select the species that grow faster and more profitable for commercial production.
  • The species that can easily maintain and grows well in your local weather and climate.
  • Consider availability of necessary foods for the species.
  • The species that grows well and take less time to reach marketing weight.

Feeding The Fish

Providing good quality and nutritious food ensures fast growth and maximum production. For commercial fish farming in Kenya, manufactured supplementary fish feeds are must.

You can buy the ready-made supplementary fish feeds that are available in the market. In the market you will find various types of fish feed prepared for each type of fish species.

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For example, if you want to culture tilapia fish then buy feeds from the market which are prepared for tilapia. You can also buy all ingredients separately from the market and mix it at farm.

This is a good idea to buy each ingredients separately from the market. Because, sometimes the ready-made feed doesn’t have all necessary nutrient elements, vitamins, minerals, salt etc.

This may directly impact the fish production. So, it is a good idea to buy all the elements separately form the market and mix at farm. See fish feed, supplimentary fish feed.

Other Care & Management

Do all tasks timely and accurately. If necessary, change the water of the pond. Examine the quality of water and soil on regular basis.

Use proper medicines for each species of fish to keep them healthy and diseases free. Prevent the entrance of predators like snakes, frogs etc. Use net while filling the pond with water.

Collecting Fish

Different species of fish reach marketing weight in different ages. For better price and profit collect the fish in proper time.

When the fish reach the marketing weights, you can collect fish form pond by using a net or discharging the total water from the pond.


Almost all people love to eat fish and there is already a suitable market for fish. You can easily sell fish in your local market. Fish also has a great demand in the international market.

Following tips will be effective for marketing fish and gaining more profits from fish farming in Kenya.

  • After collecting fish from the pond, send them to the market as soon as possible. Doing late can decrease the quality.
  • For maximum price of your products, you can separate different sized fish. For example, separate the fish into three groups. Small, medium and large.
  • Never transport the fish so far for getting more value. Sending far will damage the quality of fish and decrease the value instead of being benefited.
  • Local markets are very suitable for marketing. But if foreign export available then you can try international markets.

Fish farming in Kenya is really a lucrative business idea. If you are thinking about starting this business along with your current profession, then you have to get a training about fish farming in Kenya and visit numerous fish farms practically. Have a good day!

Frequently Asked Questions

People ask many questions about fish farming in Kenya. Here we are listing the most common questions about this profitable business, and trying to answer them. Hope you will find your answer. Don’t hesitate to ask us if you have more questions.

Is fish farming profitable in Kenya?

Yes, commercial fish farming is a very profitable business in Kenya. Most of the fish generally grow faster and require relatively less caring and other management. Even the beginners can start this business. If there is good demand of fish in your local market, then you can start this fish farming business for making money.

How to start fish farming in Kenya?

Starting commercial fish farming is relatively easy and simple business in Kenya. First of all, select a very good location, then make a pond, stock fish in the pond, feed your fish with good quality and nutritious food, provide required medicine and always try to take good care of your fish.

How profitable is fish farming in Kenya?

Commercial production of fish is a profitable business in Kenya. Although, it’s not possible to tell the exact amount of profits you can make from this business. Because exact amount of profits depends on numerous factors. As of now, the farmer acquires between Ksh. 60,000 and Ksh. 100,000 consistently from the production of fish and fingerlings.

Can I export fish from Kenya?

Export of live fish is regulated by the Kenya Fisheries Service (KeFS). The exporter is issued with an export permit and a fish health certificate, per consignment.

How much is a kg of catfish in Kenya?

Around 500 Ksh.

What is the main problem facing fish farming in Kenya?

Lack and cost of commercially produced feeds and employment of low pond management practices, has resulted in stagnation of fish farming leading to household food insecurity and low contribution to livelihoods in Kenya.

What is the most popular fish in Kenya?

Tilapia is the most common and most popular fish in Kenya.

How do I start a fish farm in Kenya?

Starting commercial fish farming is relatively easy and simple business in Kenya. First of all, select a very good location, then make a pond, stock fish in the pond, feed your fish with good quality and nutritious food, provide required medicine and always try to take good care of your fish.

What type of fish is in Kenya?

The Kenyan coast offers a wide and diverse range of fishing from the common inshore game fish such as King Mackerel, Barracuda, Rainbow Runner, Bonito and several species of Trevally, to the offshore game fish such as Yellowfin Tuna, Amberjack, Wahoo and Dorado.

How much are fingerlings in Kenya?

Depends on the fish species. For example, catfish fingerlings on average cost around Kshs 6 each.

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