Counties ink deal to boost fish farming


Fisheries PS Micheni Ntiba exchange documents with governor Anyang Nyong’o after signing the MOU on October 12 in Nyeri. PHOTO | JOSEPH KANYI | NMG

Fisheries Principal Secretary (PS) Micheni Ntiba has asked counties benefiting from the World Bank funded aquaculture programme to set aside monies to ensure the project does not collapse.

Speaking in Nyeri on Monday during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with nine counties, the PS said that the counties should have a budget line to support aquaculture in their County Integrated Development Plan to facilitate the programme after the eight year lapse.

The government is betting on commercialisation of aquaculture to foster production of fish beyond the lakes as well as increase consumption.

Governors present in Monday’s signing were Kahiga Mutahi (Nyeri), Alfred Mutua (Machakos), Anyang Nyo’ng’o (Kisumu), Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi), Martin Wambora (Embu), deputy governors Martin Moshisho (Kajiado), James Okumbe (Siaya).

"The programme is going to see an increment in come over the eight years and enhance food and nutrition status in poor households involved in acquaculture," Prof Ntiba said.

Already the project is operational in six counties and is meant to start in nine - Embu, Tharaka-Nithi, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu, Busia, Siaya Kisii and Kisumu counties

After the implementation of the project in the 15, it will be replicated to other neighbouring counties while creating employment for the youth along the value chain.

Currently, Kenya produces 400, 000 metric tonnes of fish annually and its projected to increase to 750, 000 metric tonnes.

"Through this programme we also wish to increase the consumption of fish from five kgs to 10 kgs per person annually," he said.

Kisumu governor Anyang Nyong'o said that there should be concerted efforts towards value addition by supporting small enterprises with requisite tools.

He said fish skin can be used to make sandals which can be exported hence calling for production of fish in large volumes to facilitate the trade.

With most counties in the Mt Kenya region frowning upon fish consumption, Tharaka-Nithi governor Muthomi Njuki said the cultural barrier will be broken through value addition.

He further stated that commercialisation of fish farming by making feeds affordable to farmers and regulation of imports from China which he cited as the main challenge affect the fisheries industry.

"For viability of fish farming, feeds must be made cheaper and regulation of the China imports that harbor local trade and fish produced in the country," he said adding that there should training for fish farmers to help them access high value markets to increase their incomes.

He further stated that promotion of fish farming across the country will prevent starvation and reliance on relief food.

Overharvesting and pollution were also highlighted as the main challenges facing the fish industry and the leaders called training of farmers as it seeks to promote fresh water fish farming.