British born chef travels from South African kitchen to meet Kenyan fish farmers with Farm Africa

Luke Dale-Roberts in Kisumu
Luke Dale-Roberts visited fish farmers taking part in Farm Africa’s Kenya Market-led Aquaculture Programme (KMAP) in West Kenya. Photo: Twitter/ChefsChange

Luke Dale-Roberts, one of the world’s best chefs and ambassador of the Chefs for Change movement is visiting fish farmers taking part in Farm Africa’s Kenya Market-led Aquaculture Programme (KMAP) in West Kenya. He is exploring the opportunities available in fish farming and the challenges facing small-scale fish producers.

The British born chef, whose restaurant The Test Kitchen in Cape Town, South Africa won Africa’s top restaurant award at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards in 2018, visited farmers in Kisumu and Vihiga counties during this three-day trip. This helped him understand how efforts to bolster aquaculture production and develop links to the market through building sustainable business models can transform lives across communities.

Luke Dale-Roberts visited Kisumu in Kenya to find out more about the potential of fish farming to increase employment, boost incomes and provide families with an affordable source of protein. Video: Twitter/ChefsChange

Farm Africa provides market-led solutions for aquaculture development to 1200 Kenyan fish farmers across 14 counties through KMAP and Msingi. This is done through developing sustainable market linkages as well as delivering technical and business skills training. The projects work closely with private sector players in the aquaculture value chain to improve the availability of high-quality fingerlings (baby fish) and fish feed, which are both critical to increasing fish farmers’ yields and profitability. Additionally, KMAP lobbies for favourable aquaculture policies at national and county levels.

Through his interaction with local farming families, the chef learnt about Kenyan cuisine and cook delectable dishes using fish from the farmers’ ponds. The experience will enable him to tell the compelling stories of the smallholders he met, farmers who have invested in aquaculture production but whose potential is thwarted by the high cost of inputs and uncompetitive markets.

Luke Dale-Roberts in Kenya
Luke Dale-Roberts visits a fish hatchery in Kisumu, Kenya to see how young catfish and tilapia are produced. Photo: Twitter/ChefsChange

A short film about the chef’s trip will be shared by the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Farm Africa, the official charity of the awards, will work with Luke Dale-Roberts and other Chefs for Change ambassador chefs to share stories of how the projects they visit are contributing to achieving one or more of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that aim to end extreme poverty, hunger, inequality and injustice, and fix climate change by 2030.

The Chefs for Change movement unites the world’s best chefs and remote rural communities in transforming lives through sustainable farming. The movement aims at giving a voice to rural food producers and their life stories, and empowering them to grow.

Before the trip, Luke Dale-Roberts said: “I am honoured and excited to work with Farm Africa. I look forward to learning more about fish farming in Kenya. Supporting local farmers who are invested in their communities and engaging and promoting sustainable farming methods is something I am deeply passionate about.”

Luke Dale Roberts had a fascinating visit to a fish hatchery in Kisumu, Kenya to see how young fish are produced. Hatcheries like these ensure that local fish farmers are able to get hold of the high quality inputs their businesses depend on. Video: Twitter/ChefsChange

William Drew, Group Editor at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, commented: “Having helped Farm Africa to launch the Chefs for Change initiative last year, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants is excited to see the project kick on in 2019 and beyond. By introducing many of the world’s leading chefs to the fantastic work that this organisation does, we hope to help raise the profile of key issues around food production and sustainable agriculture. We feel that our enduring relationship with our partner Farm Africa is stronger and more fruitful than ever.”

Nicolas Mounard, Farm Africa’s CEO, commented: “We are thrilled to host trips introducing one of the world’s very best chefs to farmers rearing fish in Kenya. Chefs and farmers are united by their dependence on and passion for food: for smallholder farmers and gastronomic innovators alike, working with ingredients such as fish is more than just a job, it’s the cornerstone of life. The chef’s visit will highlight the vital role sustainable agriculture plays in reducing poverty, achieving gender equality and improving nutrition worldwide.”

Arnoud Meijberg, Team Leader of the Kenya Market-led Aquaculture Programme said: “The journey of fish from pond to plate involves a host of players, ranging from farmers to feed and fingerling producers. KMAP is happy to be part of the journey of chefs from kitchen to farms, in their quest to promote sustainable agricultural models that promote nutrition, incomes and jobs.”

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