Startups & Ideas

Aquarech Secures $1.7M Funding to Empower Kenya’s Fish Farmers

Kenya’s Fish Farming Platform Closes Funding to Improve Outcomes for Small-Scale Fish Farmers

Aquarech, founded by Kisumu-based entrepreneur Dave Okech along with James Odede and Joseph Okoth, has announced the closure of a significant equity investment. The pioneering Kenyan fish farming platform has secured USD 1.7 million, earmarked for expanding its technological infrastructure, acquiring additional resources, and hiring new talent. This investment, led by the Netherlands-based global aquaculture investment fund Aqua-Spark, also includes contributions from Acumen, Katapult, and Mercy Corps Ventures.

Established in 2019, Aquarech is responding to Kenya’s increasing demand for fish, a crucial and affordable protein source in the country. With the nation’s fish consumption projected to rise from 200 to 300kt over the next five years, Aquarech’s innovative approach is poised to fill a significant gap in the domestic supply chain. The company’s mobile app platform facilitates a seamless interaction between manufacturers, farmers, and buyers, enabling them to trade, buy, and sell quality fish feed. It also offers valuable insights into best aquaculture practices and strategies to enhance income for small-scale fish farmers.

In Kenya, small-scale fish farmers frequently grapple with resource limitations and access to high-quality feed. Aquarech’s mission is centered on augmenting production, bolstering the economics of small-scale farming, and fostering the growth of the aquaculture industry within the country. The company extends comprehensive support to farmers, including access to quality feed, climate-smart precision fish feeding techniques, market access, technical training, and financial solutions such as a 90-day credit period for feed purchases.

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Dave Okech, founder and CEO of Aquarech, emphasizes the company’s commitment to enriching the aquaculture value chain. “Our aim is to empower fish farmers for a lifetime, not just a day, by improving the aquaculture value chain,” he said. “The investment and partnership from our investors are pivotal in expanding our mobile-enabled platform. This platform is instrumental in alleviating the challenges faced by smallholder fish farmers and integrating various value chain actors, all while maintaining a farmer-centric approach.”

Kenya, recognized as Africa’s third-largest economy by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), boasts a rapidly growing population and a diverse, fertile landscape conducive to agriculture. The Kenyan government acknowledges the value of aquaculture as a versatile and efficient food source, supporting local farmers through subsidy programs. Despite this, challenges persist, and scaling up businesses remains a hurdle for many farmers.

Christiaan Lensvelt, head of New Deals at Aqua-Spark, shared his enthusiasm about the partnership. “Aquarech’s commitment to enhancing local livelihoods and transitioning smallholder to medium farmers towards commercial and environmental sustainability is commendable. We are excited to support Dave and his team as they make significant strides in the industry, especially as one of the few aquaculture start-ups in Africa that uniquely combines field experience with digital tools.”

This investment marks a significant milestone for Aquarech and is a testament to the growing recognition of the potential of digital solutions in transforming traditional industries like aquaculture. With this funding, Aquarech is set to make notable advances in Kenya’s fish farming sector, benefiting not just the farmers but also contributing to the country’s broader economic and nutritional needs.


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