The aquaculture production in the country is poised to grow massively, following the National Government interventions in the fisheries sector.
The Government in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, (IFAD), has established projects for the development of Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy sectors, to spur the country’s economic growth.
The State jointly with IFAD have funded Aquaculture Business Development Program (ABDP), to increase the income and nutritional security of rural poor households.
The Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) for Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Mr. Lawrence Omuhaka on Thursday, presided over the distribution of fish farmer’s inputs and equipment for smallholder aquaculture groups and extension officers at the Ahero Vocational Training Center in Kisumu County.
The fishing gear donated to the 28 cooperative groups were; geomembrane pond liners, bird nets, predator mesh, quality fish feeds, three laptops and five motorbikes. The motorcycles will enhance extension services making it easy for the fisheries officers to reach the farmers while the laptops are intended to be used for data capture and reporting by the officials.
The initiative targets to directly support 23,400 level one beneficiaries – producing at subsistence level, which is less than 100Kgs of fish per year.
“The aim is to raise productivity and incomes of the smallholder farmers and to increase fish production base of one ton of fish per farmer per year,” Omulaka revealed.
Kisumu is among the fifteen counties implementing the ABDP aimed at increasing food production in the region. Counties venturing into this include; Meru, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Kakamega, Homa Bay and Migori. Others are Tharaka Nithi, Kisii, Siaya, Busia, Embu, Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado Counties.
Omuhaka said that in line with the governments’ Big Four Agenda, his Ministry plays a key role in driving the Agenda to achieve food and nutrition security for all.
The CAS assured fish farmers that the Ministry would address the challenges affecting them such as the provision of stable markets as well as establishing a cooperative society, where farmers would directly sell their fish at controlled prices. This would help minimize intermediaries.
According to Omuhaka, an Aquaculture Training College would be established in Kisumu County to augment the Fisheries Field School training at Sagana.
“The fisheries and aquaculture sub- sector supports about a million people directly and indirectly, working as fishers, fish farmers, traders, processors, suppliers and merchants of fishing accessories and employees and their dependents,” he said, adding that plans are underway to expand the sector to increase the numbers.
Ministry of Agriculture Livestock Fisheries and Cooperatives, plans to revive the Kabonyo Kanyagwal fish farm in Kisumu County, following a joint intervention between the County and National Governments.
The CAS further revealed that fish consumed in Nairobi County is supplied by the Central region with major counties being Nyeri, Tharaka-Nithi and Meru.
The Principal Secretary (PS) for State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy, Dr. Francis Owino, urged the public to embrace fish farming as an economic activity.
“Lake Victoria will never expand but the population keeps increasing thus raising the demand for food. The only remedy to this is practicing aquaculture,” Owino observed.
Kisumu County Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili, hailed the government for supporting rural farmers, saying that the developments witnessed will open up access and linkages that will supplement local agricultural production.
Owili said that three community dams in Kere, Buoye and Huma in Nyakach, Kisumu East and Kisumu West Sub Counties respectively, have been stocked with 66,000 fingerlings to boost community nutrition initiatives.