Aquaculture development in Kenya dates back to the colonial times in 1920s when trout was introduced in rivers around Mount Kenya for sport fishing, notably the performance of the sector has remained dismal due to a number of constraints that has hindered its development. In Kenya up to 2008 Fish farming in Kenya was mainly conducted at small-scale (subsistence) level, Feed used where mainly agricultural by-products (cereal brans) as supplements with no commercial fish feed millers – New industry. In 2009 there was a transformation in the approach and funding levels and the government of Kenya through national budget funded 1.12b kshs to mainly support pond construction fish seed and feed production, cold storage, training & extension. The government project resulted to high demand of fish feeds. However the cost of commercial fish feeds in the country is 0.92 US$ which is not sustainable for semi-intensive fish farming which forms the bulk of Kenyan farmers.
National Aquaculture Research Development and Training Centre- Sagana is the epicenter of fish health and nutrition research in the country. Species specific successful health and nutrition technology trials at NARDTC are passed on to multiplication centres across the country who in turn ensure farmers gain on the same. Over the last 15 years, research on proximate analysis, anti-nutritional factors in fish feeds, feed conversion Ratio (FCR) and growth experiments have been undertaken and results published in internationally peer reviewed journals. Growth experiments utilizing locally available fish feed ingredients has been experimented, documented and published. Fish health and nutrition simple farmers manuals, facts sheets, brochures and posters have been developed in collaboration with the training and extension division.
The main focus of NARDTC Sagana fish health and Nutrition division is to conduct demand driven research aimed towards improving on fish feed quality at a reasonably low cost to farmers.