State to build Coast fish markets to cushion local trade from Chinese imports

Fish farmers harvest tilapia
Fish farmers harvest tilapia from their ponds in Kibokoni, Kilifi County. The national government is planning to construct fish markets in Mombasa and Kilifi counties. FILE PHOTO | COURTESY 

The national government is planning to construct fish markets in Mombasa and Kilifi counties.

In a notice in the local daily, the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Irrigation said the fish market will be constructed at Likoni and a banda in Malindi.

Fishmongers, exporters and other players have been decrying the lack of a market to sell their products.

Wavuvi Association of Kenya chairman, Hamid Omar said the markets will improve livelihoods of fishermen.

“This is good news to fishermen at the Coast especially, we have been suffering due to lack of storage facilities.


"The market and banda will help in storing our fish and protect the local industry. This will also address importation of fish from Asian countries,” Mr Omar said.

The proposed Likoni and Malindi fish markets will have backup generators in case of power outages, surveillance cameras for security, kitchen equipment including cold room machine and ice flakes .

Fishing gear

Mr Omar has also asked the government to equip fishermen with modern fishing gear to revamp the sector.

“We can improve fish stock if we are given enough fibre boats and machines to increase production,” he added.

He said most farmers rely on traditional fishing gears including small boats which they cannot navigate through deep waters thereby getting minimal catch.

The markets will boost fishing sector at the Coast. The only available market is in Likoni and Old Town however they lack functioning cold-rooms.

Currently, fishermen sell their stocks at the sea shore where most residents, brokers and hoteliers throng to buy prawns, tuna, octopus, shrimps and other species found in the ocean.

Rot fast

“Most of our fish rot very fast due to lack of storage facilities. When we do not get customers we count losses immediately because we cannot store then in a cold room but the proposed construction will boost our sector,” James Luthe, a fisherman in Likoni, said.

Mercy Wasai, an official of Mombasa Beach Management Unit and a fish exporter termed the government’s move as a blessing for fishermen and industry players.

“It is good news because we lack a fish market with a cold store in this county. We only have one in old town that is not functional, it is just a structure.

"I am a supplier and exporter, I buy my stock from Lamu, Kwale, Kilifi and Mombasa,” Ms Wasai said.

Ms Wasai said lack of storage facilities especially cold rooms has been a challenge in the sector.

“Mombasa lacks a cold store if we get such a facility it will improve fishermen’s livelihood, increase storage capacity for the fish to supply a bigger market and create employment,” she added.