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Counties

Weather dampens L. Victoria fishmongers' fortunes

A woman dries sardines at Sori Beach along the shores of Lake Victoria. Fishmongers risk losing millions of their catch due to bad weather PHOTO | IAN BYRON | NMG
A woman dries sardines at Sori Beach along the shores of Lake Victoria. Fishmongers risk losing millions of their catch due to bad weather PHOTO | IAN BYRON | NMG 

Fishmongers along Lake Victoria are staring at possible loses of their stocks as the rainy season sets in.

Currently, the fisher folk are losing close to two tonnes of freshwater sardines (dagaa/omena) daily due to a bad weather and this is expected to rise with the onset of the rainy season in September.

"We catch almost two tonnes of dagaa on a good day but the entire haul goes to waste when there is no sunshine to dry the catch,” Mr Justus Sabari, Sori Beach Management Unit Secretary told the Nation.

Mr Sabari said the Kenya Maritime Authority had visited the beaches last year and promised to train the fisher folk on modern sun drying techniques to enable them avert further loses, but the promise is yet to be accomplished.

"They visited the beach and promised to train fishermen on modern fish drying techniques, but we have not heard from them since last year," he said.

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Ms Lydia Atieno, a fishmonger, said that the business is no longer lucrative as it used to be during the dry spell and they are forced to sell the sardines at a throwaway price to avoid wastage and rot.

Foul smell

"The sardines produce a foul smell when not properly dried and this keeps our clients away. We end up selling them to chicken feed processors at a throw away price,” she observed.

According to Ms Atieno, fresh sardines sell at Sh200 a kilo, but the price goes down to Sh50 a kilo when they go bad.

Ms Fenny Awuor, another fish monger blamed the situation on fake promises given by politicians during campaigns.

"We banked on promises by our leaders to get us a drier that would resolve this situation, but they remain pipe dreams," she said.

Sori Beach Management Chairman Maxwell Ogola urged the county government to step up and provide modern driers, stating that it was the only way to salvage the situation.

"The county government should help us procure a drier as this would enable us minimise on the loses," he said.

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