Mkulima today in the agribusiness value chain we lose a lot of value due to lack of value addition to our produce. A young man in Kisumu using fish scales to make flowers.

Value addition is not only a way to earn more from farming but one of the best ways to reduce losses.

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fish scales to make flowers

Dennis Otieno is the founder of Victoria Scapas Limited a company that deals in the training of fish farmers and works with Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute, KEMFRI uses the scales to make flowers, which he plans to sell at retail between Kshs 500 – kshs 1,000 per bouquet.

Along the coastlines of Lake Victoria, there are hundreds of fish on sale including tilapia, Nile perch, mudfish among others.

The fishmongers remove the fish scales and throw them away as waste. The hidden truth is that the fish waste thrown away could earn them millions including the internal organs like fish bladder both in the local and international markets.

With over 10 years of experience in the business, Ms. Agnes Aluoch says she knows little about fish leather. She says most of the women-only sell the fish and throw away everything else after scrapping the internal organs and scales.

She adds that they normally throw waste large enough to fill a 20-liter wastebasket daily.

With this kind of wastage, Dennis Otieno noticed an opportunity of turning waste into a gold mine. According to him about 150,000 tons of fish waste is produced every year and almost 80% of it disposed of.

In an interview with standard newspaper Dennis says that what is thrown away could be more valuable than what we carry home for consumption.

One of his concerns was that the wastewater from the open-air fish processing locations is a threat to the environment.

To deal with this he came up with an innovative solution to help the situation. His solution is to use fish scales to make flowers and sell them to the florists in Kisumu and the general public.

Currently, he has the ability to produce five high-quality bouquets of flowers per day.  The process of making the flowers starts by washing the scales.

Secondly, soak the scales in dye extracted from plant pigments and then dry in the sun for at least three hours.

Once dry he sticks the now colored scales with glue that is extracted from the fish skin to come up with great designs.

Dennis says that there is a need for investment in aquaculture in rural areas to help support the youth and create jobs in the process.

Apart from making flowers out of fish scales he also extracts fish oil that he uses to make soaps and cakes clearly there is more to be made from the value addition of fish processing locally and in rural Kenya.

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