Promoting Sustainable Smallholder Aquaculture Productivity Through Landscape and Seascape Aquapark Models: A case Study of Busia County, Kenya
Timothy Odende, Erick Ochieng Ogello, Jacob O Iteba, Henrick Owori, Nicholas Outa, Kevin Obiero, Dr Jonathan Munguti, Domitila Kyule, Shadrack Kimani
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The dwindling capture fisheries has triggered an increase in Kenya's annual fish demand deficit, currently estimated at 553,000 MT. With the adoption of sustainable policies, aquaculture can bridge and surpass this deficit. Kenya's fish farming environment is however characterized by its highly fragmented production farms, which limit the dynamism and technical change needed to commercialize aquaculture. The global trend in the commercialization of food production is through the consolidation of farmlands. For example, most farms in the United States of America were also once small, but because of the policy of land consolidation, the farmlands average 1,000 acres. Over the past decade, much of Sub-Saharan African nations are experiencing a rise of 5–100 hectares except in Kenya, where the laws have exacerbated the situation. Amid declining agricultural productivity, farm-level efficiency and food security problems, land fragmentation is emerging as a key policy question in Kenya and is the single largest bottleneck, to aquaculture growth in Busia. A paradigm shift in the aquaculture development policy will enable aggregated production of fish under a fragmented land tenure. This study discusses the need to remodel the current fragmented and uncoordinated cluster-based smallholder aquaculture development strategy by adopting a hybrid aquapark concept. In this concept, the aggregated smallholder aquaparks are established and managed through specialized management service provision units and linked to adjacent smallholder aquaculture production clusters with a community-based coordination and support framework. The study further gives the application and socioeconomic experiences of the pilot aquapark concept of aquaculture development in Busia County. The aquapark model coupled with the deliberate establishment of aquaculture-enabling infrastructure has enhanced the efficiency, profitability, and productivity of aquaculture production. The realization of smallholder community-owned large-scale fish farms through aquaparks offers a window for dynamism and technical change necessary for the commercialization of aquaculture under a fragmented land tenure system.