A Rural Entrepreneur Producing Catfish to Supply Local Consumers in Mali.
Bamba KEITA is 38 years old, married and has two children. He lives in the village of Nafadji, 45 km from Bamako. When he was selected for the SAA youth entrepreneurship project, thanks to an SAA agricultural adviser (CAT) in his locality, he was producing vegetables but was finding it difficult to grow his farm.
Following the selection, he received theoretical and practical trainings on fish farming and business management. In addition to the business training, he had several other training including finance. In his words: "These trainings opened my eyes and gave me opportunities. I realized that with my experience and knowledge from the trainings, I could develop my business." He also said, "SAA has given me a great opportunity. Before I joined the SAA project, I wouldn't have been able to tell you how much I earn every month. This is no longer the case. I am applying what I have learnt in the trainings to develop my business with a clear entrepreneurial vision. I am really satisfied with what I have learned and I am even able to transfer this knowledge to someone who has the same dream as mine."
After the entrepreneurship training, he joined a business plan competition and won because of the relevance of his project.
With the award, he installed a 9m3 water tank and fry house containing over 1,000 small fish. After 4 months of operation since the start of the project, he has recorded a mortality rate of only 1.65%. He feeds them three times a day and the average weight of the fish is about 300 grams. Twice a week he cleans the tank and changes the water. The wastewater is used to irrigate his vegetable garden. He says "I now feel like a bigger person in my community, I am able to take care of my family's bill and cover all the expenses of the whole extended family, including my father, mother and siblings. Being able to contribute to the creation of jobs in my home village makes me proud. Because of this, and despite my young age, I am respected in the community."
Mr Keita shared with us 3 recommendations to guide someone who wants to start fish farming:
- Be prepared physically and mentally;
- Check the quality of the water to be used;
- Find a quiet and pleasant place for the business.