In Summary
  • Fish ponds have plenty of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium.
  • Remains of feeds and excretes form settle able faecal fish waste in the pond rendering the water rich in manure.
  • Fresh fish manure is similar in chemical orientation to other livestock manure and should be used as an agricultural fertiliser instead of using inorganic fertilisers that are not only expensive, but also harmful to living organisms.
  • One of the key challenges is the spending on pesticides.

When Tabitha Nyangaresi, 40, realised that growing tea was no longer viable after close to 20 years of dismal returns, she turned to tomato farming.

“I knew time was ripe for change when I started using my unused fish pond water to water my crops rather than spending most of my time plucking tea that has been paying poorly for decades yet a small potato garden surpassed its earnings in a short period,” she tells Seeds of Gold at her farm in Bobasi, Kisii County.

She sought experts’ help in putting up an underground water reservoir tank which can hold up to 48,000 litres and bought an additional three 6,000-litre tank that captures every drizzle that lands on her house roof.

Rain water from her roof flows through the eaves trough to the underground reservoir from which it is channelled to her ponds by gravity.

The greenhouse gutters channel all the water captured from their polythene roofs into the fresh water reservoir supplying her 20,000 four-month old fish with clean water fitted with a powered oxygen supply machine she purchased at Sh15,000.

Remains of feeds and excretes form settle able faecal fish waste in the pond rendering the water rich in manure.

On a good harvest from her two greenhouses, Tabitha makes up to Sh6,000 a day, selling  tomatoes to vendors who frequent her farm daily from the nearby markets in Nyamache, Mogonga, Nayacheki, Igare, Daraja in Kisii town and direct to consumers in the area including schools, hospitals and eateries at nearby shopping centres.

Tabitha says she researched on the internet viable tomato varieties in Kenya and chose to grow the hybrid Anna F1 variety which she found out matures faster and has higher produce.

INORGANIC FERTILISER HARMFUL TO CROPS

“I spent time on the internet and chose the Anna F1 variety which performs best under greenhouse and is resistant to common tomato diseases. The fruits do not go bad easily after harvesting,” said Tabitha.

Tabitha says in November last year, she opted to invest Sh40,000 on a rainwater harvesting plan after she learnt the idea from a friend in Athi River.

Mr Felix Opinya, an expert in aquaculture at Egerton University, says fresh fish manure is similar in chemical orientation to other livestock manure and should be used as an agricultural fertiliser instead of using inorganic fertilisers that are not only expensive, but also harmful to living organisms.

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