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Fish farmers bank on app to raise yield

New IoT-driven mobile device to help deliver thousands of tonnes a year in raised production in Western Kenya

Fish farmers in Nyanza  and Western regions are expecting increased production following introduction of a new technology to support fish stocks in ponds.

The app dubbed AquaRech, which uses Internet of Things (IoT) connected sensors, will enable farmers to monitor  and protect fresh water fish populations.

Liquid Telecom, a leading communications solutions provider has connected 10 pilot-phase sensors that monitor water temperature and pH values in ponds.

The sensors send information and feeding instructions to farmers through the Android and iOS app designed by the Kisumu innovation technology hub LakeHub and developers Pinovate.

It is expected that partnership would equip 5,000 farmers in the two regions with the sensors and the app by the end of this year. There are some 20,000 fish farmers in western Kenya with an average of two ponds each and around 2,400 fish per pond.

The programme will eventually be rolled out to 30,000 fish pond farmers countrywide, helping to increase fish production, which Kenya National Bureau of Statistics says fell by 17 per cent in 2017.

Sajid Ahmad Khan, Chief Operations Officer at Liquid Telecom, said this is one of a series of partnerships the firm is developing to increase the country’s food security as part of the government’s Big Four agenda.

Using IoT-connected sensors to calculate optimal feeding times was found to reduce fish deaths by between 30 and 40 per cent in a one-year study in Iran by information technology company Afarinesh Samaneh Mehr Engineering Co.

Closing down ponds

“Farmers have been closing down ponds and setting aside fish production as they struggle to feed fish correctly due to changing temperatures and conditions,” said Dave Okech, who initiated the AquaRech project.

Speaking in Kisumu during the closure of a training course for fisheries officers from Homa Bay, Migori, Vihiga and Kakamega, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) fisheries coordinator for Kenya, Alice Jesse said the country has the potential to produce fish through aquaculture.

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