Over 4,000 fish farmers, traders and input providers in Kenya receive ‘aquatips’ and market advice through their phones © Farm Africa/Mwangi Kirub
Fish farmers in Kenya are receiving best practice ‘aquatips’ and market advice through the Esoko digital platform. Since its launch in 2015, over 4,000 farmers, traders, input and service providers involved in Farm Africa’s aqua shop initiative have been linked through the platform.
A network of 56 aqua shops, first set up by Farm Africa in 2011, has benefited over 7,500 farmers by providing high-quality equipment, feed and training. Fish farmers in Kenya have since increased their production by 54% and incomes by 63%. Farm Africa has now partnered with Esoko to expand its services, using digital technology to provide technical advice and market prices. Fish traders registered with Esoko receive information on their phones, including details on quantity, price, farmer location and contact details, to help connect them to farmers.
“When I joined Esoko, my catfish had not matured for selling but I kept getting calls from available buyers,” says Zachariah Ishitote, a 63-year-old farmer. Alex Abweo, a farmer specialising in tilapia and catfish, started using the platform in 2014. Abweo, states that receiving tips from Esoko once or twice a week, such as advice on how to feed his fish so that they mature in the required time, has helped him grow his business. Another tilapia farmer, Faith Buluma, is upbeat about being connected with the market through Esoko. Buluma, who also runs an aqua shop, states that “It has made me network, meet other fish farmers and exchange practical information.”