Kenya seeks partnership to boost fish farming
Posted Monday, August 6 2012 at 17:44
The government is seeking funds to support a fish farming programmme launched three years ago as part of the economic stimulus programme.
Last week the government announced a partnership with the German and the Israeli governments to roll out a training programme for over 9,000 fish farmers in Nyanza and Western provinces.
Officials from the three governments, however, declined to give the exact value of the partnership pending official signing of the deal on August 16.
“Aquaculture is an economic activity that is central to food security around the world and a driving force for development in most developing countries,” said Ms Margit Hellwig-Boette, the Germany ambassador to Kenya.
“The German and Israeli governments have run active development projects around the lake region for a period of time. For example, the German Development Corporation has developed a value chain for omena to help producers and retailers to be able to get more returns from their businesses.”
Ms Margit was speaking at the Ramogi Institute of Technology, RIAT, in Kisumu where an aquaculture training programme for field officers was being launched.
According to Mr Godfrey Momor, a director at the Department of Fisheries in the Ministry of Fisheries Development, the trainers will be dispatched to 30 constituencies in the region to disseminate knowledge on fish farming.
“This is the easiest way to reach fish farmers and even bring in new ones,” Mr Momor said. “The farmers are going to get modern and up-dated knowledge on feeding, fertilising, and growing their fish stocks.”
The government set aside money in the 2009/2010 budget to establish fish ponds in each of the 210 constituencies.
“The programme has led to an increase in the number of fish in the country,” said Mr Momor.
“Three years ago Kenya’s fish production from commercial farms stood at 4,000 metric tonnes per year. In the last three years that the programme has been running we have increased production to 19,000 metric tonnes,” he said.
“So far, we have used Sh6.2 billion on construction of ponds, providing fingerlings, and fish feeds. Results have been great for the most part. Constituencies in Central and Eastern provinces have registered the greatest performance.”
However, the last two years have seen prolonged draughts and floods leading to drying up of ponds and some being washed away leaving fish farmers counting losses.
In addition, there is lack of trainers in aquaculture. When the government advertised for vacant positions for specialists in the field, applications received were inadequate. The result has been ponds drying up or getting overrun by weeds and many of the remaining ones operating below capacity.