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TTC Mobile surveys fish consumption in Kenya

By TTC Mobile:
TTC Mobile gathered insights on consumers’ attitude and behavior on fish consumption in Kenya on behalf of the FoodTechAfrica project. Compared with findings from the 
same study in 2013, the survey showed remarkable differences, hinting to a rapidly changing fish marketData from the TTC Mobile survey was analyzed by FoodTechAfrica and confirms the need for continued investment in local fish production.

Fish consumption in 2013 and 2017
Within the framework of FoodTechAfrica’s Monitoring and Evaluation activities, the FoodTechAfrica partnership contracted TTC Mobile to repeat its interview-based consumer study of 2013 and identify actionable trends. In a week, almost 700 Kenyan consumers were surveyed through TTC Mobile’s innovative mobile survey sampling platform. In both the Nairobi and Kisumu area, the data show a drop in fish consumption between today and 2013. The number of consumers indicating that they consumed fish a few times per week decreased with 1.7% in Nairobi and 13% in Kisumu. This signals a significant drop in consumption of fish in Kisumu area, a traditional fish eating area that borders Lake Victoria, which closely corresponds with recent media reports who say that wild catch from Lake Victoria is half of what it used to be. These in turn corresponds with the general focus of the FoodTechAfrica project to replace wild catch (which is dropping) by sustainably farmed fish in east Africa.

Decreased consumption seems to be a result of increasing fish prices and lower output of Lake Victoria. On average, respondents in Kisumu answered that they are willing to pay 362 KES per kilo. In 2013, the average our respondents were willing to pay was 249 KES per kilo, an increase of 45% in only four years. The apparent relationship between the rise in prices and decreased consumption is also reflected in the 50% of the respondents in Kisumu that answered that their most important barrier to fish consumption is the high price.

Capturing tastes, preferences and opinions of the next billion consumers
Our mobile survey sampling consists of a dedicated network of mobile partners to send SMS invites to mobile phone users and transfer airtime incentives (prepaid top-up) to our panel members directly after survey completion. The survey platform is agnostic as to what device or browser type panel members are using. They can reach the platform on both feature and smartphones. We develop surveys that are data-friendly and can easily be set out in areas with low bandwidth mobile internet. To ensure that our panel members are real and unique, we capture more than 20 data points (digital fingerprinting).

Working with our joint venture partner MetrixLab
MetrixLab, part of the Macromill Group, is a global provider of consumer insights and marketing analytics solutions. The partnership between TTC Mobile and MetrixLab has led to the recruitment of high quality mobile panelists and profiled databases. The combination of the two companies is of great value due to the expertise of MetrixLab in market survey research and TTC Mobile’s years of experience in providing reach and audience engagement in emerging markets.

More stories about TTC Mobile surveys.


Fish feed factory opened in Nairobi

Today, Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries Hon. Willy K. Bett, EGH, officially opened the Unga Holdings Ltd fish feed factory in Nairobi, Kenya. Alongside the Chairman of the Board of Seaboard Corporation and Frans Makken, the ‎Netherlands Ambassador to Kenya.

Fish feed factory

The factory has the capacity to produce 5,000 tons of high quality extruded floating fish feed annually for the East African market. It is the first facility of such level of quality in East Africa that will produce the much needed high-quality floating fish feeds, the single most important impediment to the growth of the aquaculture (fish farming) sector in the region. High-quality feed enable fish farmers to increase their output and lower their production costs per kg.

Currently, the supply gap for fish increases rapidly as fish stocks in Lake Victoria have been dwindling due to overfishing and a growing population. This leads to a demand for affordable and healthy animal protein.


Unga Holdings Ltd –manufacturer of human nutrition and animal nutrition products and joint venture of Unga Group Ltd and US-based Seaboard Corporation – developed the factory within the framework of the Dutch Public Private Partnership FoodTechAfrica. This partnership is initiated and coordinated by Larive International and has been working on the development of the entire aquaculture value chain in East Africa since 2013.

The partnerships consists of 14 public and private partners, each offering complementary skills and expertise. Dutch partners Ottevanger Milling Engineers and Almex Extrusion designed and manufactured the facility’s state-of-the-art equipment. Global animal feed player Nutreco has entered into a commercial agreement with Unga and provides in-depth knowledge and expertise on feed formulation, production and marketing. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides co-financing to the consortium’s activities.

Wouter van Vliet and Menno Morenc are currently with the FoodTechAfrica project team in Kenya for the opening.
They are happy with this step bold forward. According to Wouter ‘The opening of the feed factory is solving the classic ‘chicken-and-egg’ problem in which the aquaculture sector development is held back by.’

Follow the progress of the team in Nairobi at Twitter and Wouter’s blog.

A blue revolution for East Africa

A blue revolution for East AfricaOur global population will rise from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050. Most of this population growth will take place in East Africa and Asia. That is a lot of mouths to feed. This means that in 30 years’ time, we are going to need at least 70% more protein than what is available today. Think about those figures for a minute…

Currently, our ocean and lakes serve as the main source of animal protein, by providing fish from wildcatch. Over 2.5 billion people depend on it every single day. At the same time, our global fisheries are significantly larger than what our oceans can sustainably support. This simply means that we, humans, take far more fish from the ocean than the oceans can naturally replace.

Therefore, we should stop plundering our oceans and lakes and alleviate the pressure on it. We have an alternative in aquaculture --- known as the farming of fish, plants, shellfish and crustaceans. Farming fish instead of ‘hunting’ for it, in the wild.

Aquaculture in Sub-Saharan Africa

Worldwide, aquaculture now actually produces more than what we catch from the wild. However, not (yet) so in Africa. Of the worldwide aquaculture output, only 2.5% is farmed in Africa, according to the FAO. Most of this is concentrated in 2 countries, Nigeria and Egypt. Contrast that with an African population set to rise from 1 to 2 billion (>20% of the world’s population). And the stage is set for a blue revolution.

Demand for fish in Africa is thus going to go up, whilst wild-catch is declining. This leaves fish farming or importing fish as the two main options to provide fish to the growing consumer base. Africa is under the spotlight when it comes to global food security. And food security is best achieved by sustainable local production. Thus, it is important to look inland, towards sustainably farming freshwater fish.

For this reason, FoodTechAfrica was established. A public-private partnership combining the strength and expertise of 14 partners, all active in the Aquaculture value chain. Together, we created and put in place an approach toward creating a sustainable aquaculture sector in East Africa, starting with the basics: (1) feed, (2) fingerlings, (3) sustainable production systems and (4) processing.

1. Locally-produced aqua feeds

Till date, most government and donor programs have aimed at stimulating aquaculture in East Africa by focusing on smallholder farms and stimulating their output. However, fish feeds make up roughly 70% of the cost for a fish farmer. So, not having local fish feed production is like having a ‘truck without an engine’. It’s hard to get moving. With the combined expertise of Ottevanger Milling Engineers, Almex, Skretting and Unga, a state-of-the art fish feed facility is being established, producing high-quality feed in the heart of East Africa, Kenya.

2. Fingerlings

At the start of the aquaculture value chain are fingerling --- baby fish or fry. Proper fish farming requires breeds developed specifically for aquaculture. Using improved varieties of tilapia increases breeding success, fish growth rates and their survival and success in aquaculture systems. Breeding programs can help in both food security efforts and in increasing the socio-economic benefits of tilapia farming.

3. Sustainable Production Systems

Aquaculture requires stakeholders, farmers and investors to ‘think ahead’. With water and land becoming even more scarce resources, fish farming should use the least amount of these resources as possible. The FoodTechAfrica partners therefor developed a recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), specifically for application in East Africa. This system operates by filtering water from the fish tanks so it can be reused. This dramatically reduces the amount of water and space required to intensively produce fish. The steps in RAS include solids removal, ammonia removal, Co2 removal and oxygenation. Also, the system simulates a stress-free environment for the fish, reducing mortalities and improving the feed conversion, growth rates and quality. The result is a system providing 100 times the output as compared to a fish pond of the same surface. Moreover, a viable business case in which a farmer can sustainable produce fish for the local market in East Africa.

4. Processing

Getting fresh fish to the market is the final, yet equally important, step of the value chain. Preventing wastage requires a holistic approach to include processing, packaging, marketing and distribution of fish. Existing team expertise and proven solutions blending with local insights is the best way to serve local consumers with fresh, healthy fish.

Above all, creating a vibrant and successful aquaculture sector in East Africa requires cooperation between the different stakeholders. With FoodTechAfrica, we leverage the combined expertise of the partners in creating a viable aquaculture sector for East Africa.

That’s how I committed myself to a fascinating and rewarding journey towards a blue revolution in East Africa. Keep updated on our progress on FoodTechAfrica.

Wouter van Vliet --- FoodTechAfrica

Our global offices

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FoodTechAfrica has a local office in Nairobi, Kenya and an office located in Zeist, the Netherlands. This way we can give you local support, while maintaining a Dutch contact point at all times. FoodTechAfrica is supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the FDOV program.

Please find more information about the global presence of Larive Group here.

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