The county government has partnered with University of Eldoret and farmers in a plan to boost fish production and meet the huge demand in the North Rift being sustained by imports from Uganda.
Under the partnership, the university’s researchers will develop breeds adaptable to the North Rift ecosystem. The county will buy the fingerlings and distribute to farmers with ponds and aquariums.
“The county is putting a lot of emphasis on fish farming at the moment because we are also realising growth in cosmopolitan population and the push to provide fish especially in Eldoret town,” Cosmas Lang’at, a county official, said.
Traders and hotels import an estimated 2.4 tonnes from Uganda per day to serve Eldoret and neighbouring urban centres.
Kisumu and Bungoma are other sources of fish consumed in parts of the North Rift.
And with the North Rift Economic Bloc (Noreb) stepping up its business goals, the project is expected to lift the status of the region to claiming a pie of the East African Community trade.
“The drive also aims to empower our farmers to adopt this kind of farming so as to uplift their livelihoods,” said Mr Lang’at. Fish farmers in the region can only produce between 250 and 500kg of fish per day , which county officials says is below its potential.
“We are very glad our farmers have picked up the practice. We have realised great strides in the project especially when the county government took over in 2013.” He added: “Fish farming has also been adopted by many farmers. This is one of the great milestones in this project.”
He said saccos in the region will ensure that farmers can sell their mature fish directly, helping them to limit the use of brokers and cartels in the supply chain.