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Thumbs up for youth fishing cash from ponds

Greenthumb Youth Group, which keeps tilapia and catfish, finds the farming venture lucrative as demand for the produce surges
The fish in the two ponds on the farm in Umoja 2, Lanet in Nakuru County, dart in water, creating ripples that form beautiful patterns.
Standing in between the earthen ponds whose floor is made of a dam liner is a young woman, carrying a bucket of commercial fish feeds.
She deeps her right hand inside the bucket, scoops some feeds and throws them inside the ponds.
The fish scrambles for the feeds, thus, creating the beautiful patterns that are breathtaking.
The fish farm belongs to Greenthumb CBO Youth Group and they keep both tilapia and catfish, selling the produce in Nakuru where demand is insatiable.
"We started the business in 2014, then we were 28, but now we have 10 members who are very dedicated as the rest left. All of us were individually involved in agriculture before coming together to complement each other," says James Maina, the chairman, noting some of them used to grow maize while others horticultural crops.
According to Maina, they choose fish farming because it is unique and demand for fish is high.
"Most fish consumed in Nakuru comes from Lake Victoria or Lake Naivasha, but still this is not enough. Demand has been rising especially among people with children," he says.
They ploughed into the business Sh300,000 capital, with the money going on making the ponds and buying fingerlings, among other costs.
The venture has been growing since then, with each member fully engaged in the running of the business. 
The group has two ponds, one which has three compartments to keep fish according to their ages.
"We harvest about 800-1,000 fish at once and sell to members of the community in Nakuru at Sh200 per kilo. We market the fish through word of mouth, on social media and our networks," says Maina, adding the members are aged 19-35 years.
Greenthumb CBO members have embraced the use of information and communications technology.
"We use technology to keep our records, communicate among ourselves and market our produce," says Maina, noting they have been trained by Vijabiz, an initiative in Nakuru, on how to incorporate ICT in the business.
Robert Nginyi, a member of Greenthumb, notes working in group comes with its own dynamics but they have created synergy among themselves.
"As a group, it is easier for us to raise money and share responsibilities on the farm but one of the challenges is that sometimes decision-making can be delayed."
Their plan in five years is to have a franchise model for fish production and focus on fish value addition, says Maina
The two recommend fish farming for the youth, noting it needs small space and can be tailored to fit in the expectations of youth. 
"Farming is not a dirty venture, it is well-paying," says Maina.
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... Mkulima Young Team

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