Risks, Risk Coping and Resilience amongst Small-Scale Fish Farmers in Kenya: A Gender Inclusive Approach

2nd October 2023

Lucy Njogu – UEA DEV


Food insecurity and poverty persist as formidable global problems. These challenges are exacerbated by rapid population growth, climate change and other emerging risks, intensifying the pressure on food systems to meet current and future food security and livelihood demands. In this context, fish food systems and particularly aquaculture, the fastest-growing food sector, emerges as a critical player. Fish and other aquatic resources provide sustenance and livelihoods to over 1 billion people and consumption is expected to continue increasing.

In Kenya, a significant gap between production and demand for fish is evident. Though the country has 1.4 million hectare of land that is suitable for aquaculture, and the potential to produce 14 million tonnes, only 0.0014% of this is under use, and fish continues to be import-ed. While governmental and non-governmental efforts have sought to promote the sector, progress remains sluggish, characterized by small-scale fish farmer abandonment of ponds.  Existing socio-economic literature underscores the prevalence of a range of risks, particularly pronounced among women and youth, which constrains the development of aquaculture, however, this could be successfully managed, enhancing in the process the resilience of fish farming households. The proposed study, using mixed methods, seeks to provide an in depth understanding of the risks and resilience of small-scale fish farmers in Kenya. It emphasizes a gender-inclusive perspective, recognizing the unique challenges and contributions of women in the industry. By a comprehensive exploration of these dynamics, the research aims to in-form policy and practice that can unlock the full potential of aquaculture in Kenya, contributing to both food security and poverty alleviation