Contribution of aquaculture towards improvement of rural livelihoods among Fish farmers in Kisumu North District, Kisumu County, Kenya
Ogola, Musa O.
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Aquaculture has made observable contributions to food security, creation of employment, income generation and nutrition. This has given aquaculture a global recognition as a fast growing source of the highly demanded fish food since the capture fisheries has been on decline. The purpose of this study was to investigate the contribution of aquaculture towards improvement of rural livelihoods among fish farmers in Kisumu North District, Kisumu County. The objectives of this study were to: investigate the extent to which aquaculture contributes to food security and nutrition among fish farmers, examining the extent to which aquaculture contributes to income generation and social well being among fish farmers in Kisumu North District. The study further sought to establish the contribution of aquaculture to the sustainable use of the natural resource base by the fish farmers in North Kisumu, Kisumu County. The study adopted descriptive survey research design. Questionnaires were used to collect data from the fish farmers while observation schedule was used by the researcher to confirm the information given by the fish farmers. The questionnaires were subjected to reliability test through piloting. Validity of the questionnaires was ensured through involving supervisors for expert judgment and peer review. Out of the sample size of 162 fish farmers that were randomly chosen from a population of 278 fish farmers distributed across the four locations of Kisumu North District, 137 responded to the <questionnaires. Data analysis involved use of descriptive techniques mainly percentages and means while presentation was done using tables and pie-charts. The study revealed that majority of the fish farmers 66 (46.7%) belonged to age bracket 31-40 years and most of them 115 (83.95) being married. Findings further showed that majority offish farmers, 109 (79.5%) ate fish from their fish farms at least twice a week with majority 95 (69.3%) finding it relatively easy to access fish as the main protein source. Fish farming further contributed to income generation with majority 126 (67.2%) receiving up to Kshs.20, 000 per year. Revenues from fish farming found significant use in meeting hospital expenses and also paying school fees as majority 107 (78.1%) considered it as a source of employment while those viewing it as potentially able to enhance living standards were121 (88.3%) of the fish farmers. The fish farmers were also making use of the locally occurring resources to enhance fish production. A total of 78 (56.9) fish farmers had made use of idle land by converting them into fish ponds while at the same time majority of the fish farmers numbering 105 (76.6%) were making use of natural sources of water mainly rivers to fill their ponds by gravity. The study concluded that fish farming positively contributed to the improvement of the livelihoods of those involved as a source of food and nutrition, source of employment and enhancer of social well being as well as providing the best way to make use of idle resources such as idle lands and waters. It was therefore recommended that a lot of awareness need to be created to the fish farmers on fish farming so they can take the full advantage of the government's economic stimulus package. This would enable them to put more idle and agriculturally unproductive land in fish farming and also use locally available resources so as to enhance profitability of their fish farming enterprises. Suggested areas for further research were noted to be: economics of fish farming enterprise, challenges affecting implementation of fish farming enterprises and influence of policy related issues on fish farming.