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Partnerships for enhanced engagement in research (PEER) SCIENCE
Cycle 2 (2012 Deadline)

Strengthening institutional capacity for participatory action research in sustainable aquaculture

PI: Joyce Gichiku Maina (University of Nairobi)
U.S. Partner: Irene Kimaru (St. John Fisher College)
Project Dates: July 2013 to June 2016

2-219 Team showing farmer how to read PH meter
The team demonstrates a PH meter to a local fish fa (Photo courtesy Dr. Maina)

The overall objective of this project is 
to use the Action Research paradigm to develop, validate and disseminate new technologies to enhance development and sustainability of a vibrant fish farming sector in in Kenya. Four main objectives are involved. The first is to build capacity for Participatory Action Research among the selected graduate students and teaching staff in the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Nairobi and other participating institutions. Some of the students and staff will subsequently be used in carrying out research in fish farming in Kenya. The second objective is to do a baseline survey to establish the main socioeconomic, gender, and technological factors that influence fish farming. This will be done using a semi-structured questionnaire targeting the main actors in the farmed fish value chain. The third objective is to develop and validate models for integrating fish farming into crop and livestock farming. In this component of the project, models for efficient use of water for crop irrigation and rice farming and use of livestock manures as fertilizers for fish ponds will be evaluated. The fourth objective involves evaluating the environmental effects of fish farming on the water systems. This part of the research will be done in collaboration with the U.S. partner, leveraging her expertise in environmental chemistry. Water will be collected from fish ponds and adjacent water bodies and analyzed for chemical pollutants at different seasons of the year. Farmed fish will also be evaluated for their safety for human consumption by testing them for residual pesticides and other chemicals.
 
The project is expected to strengthen a core team of researchers and train graduate students in participatory action research. The project will also evaluate the reasons that led to failure of past fish farming projects that were mainly funded by development partners. This will be done for purposes of sustainability of this project and future projects. Appropriate exit strategies will be evaluated and documented and information will be shared with the relevant authorities. As for other development impacts, the project will continuously engage stakeholders in the fish aquaculture value chain, particularly focusing on women and youth, who have been disadvantages in the allocation of resources in the past. The formation of a multi-stakeholder platform will be facilitated so that participants can more easily share information and experiences useful for upgrading the value chain. New linkages will be also be created in the region by helping selected stakeholders to take part in regional initiatives.
 
Summary of Recent Activities
 
 

Kenya Partnership Picture B
An example of a Kenyan fish farm (Photo courtesy Dr. Maina)

During the last quarter Dr. Maina and her colleagues conducted a series of data gathering excursions as well as workshops for sustainable aquaculture.

The research team visited private and government owned fish hatcheries  in order to engage hatchery managers in evaluation of their breeding practices, assess the quality of fish stock sold to farmers, and evaluate their knowledge, attitudes, and skills. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data.  

The evaluation of the effects of physical-chemical properties of water, pollution and parasites found in farmed fish has been ongoing as well. During the reporting period, the team conducted analysis of water and fish samples. The team also analyzed factors that influence food safety and quality issues in the farmed fish value chain. A study was done in Kisumu County in Kenya where fish, water, and feed samples were collected from five sub-counties in Kisumu. Analysis was conducted to determine potential microbiological hazards associated with farmed Fish in Kisumu County and country as a whole. Graduate student training on management of data from qualitative studies has been ongoing. A total of 6 women and 9 men were trained on development of survey tools, analysis of data from qualitative studies and interpretation of data.

Going forward a study will be conducted in Makueni County on factors that influence profitability and sustainability of fish farming.  A two day long stakeholder workshop in Nyeri County is being planned where farmers, fish hatchery managers, feed suppliers, extension agents, researchers within the county will have the opportunity to engage and discuss the opportunities and challenges. In this forum, research and training needs in the County will be prioritized. In May 2015, a  general baseline study on factors that influence fish farming in Kisumu County will be conducted. U.S. partner Dr. Irene Kimaru from St. John Fisher College is anticipated to visit the research team in  Kenya to discuss the ongoing research specifically on fish and water quality. Dr. Maina, in turn, is planning to visit her U.S. partner in July  2015 to discuss and plan the schedule and work for at least one graduate student who will travel to the U.S. to conduct research on environmental quality management in partnership with the collaborator at St John Fisher College.

 
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