Counties

Sh60m Nyeri factory processes four fish a day as stocks dwindle

fish

A butcher weighs fish fillet in Nyeri town. FILE PHOTO | NMG

A Sh60 million factory built in Nyeri is receiving an average of four fish per day against a daily capacity of two tonnes, officials have said, citing limited stocks.

The factory situated at Wamagana in Tetu Sub-County and run by the county government, has only received and processed 758 kilogrammes of fish from farmers since its commissioning in February last year.

The factory has now resorted to selling the fish due to lack of the raw material.

“We are operating under capacity due to the low quantity of fish we receive,” Agriculture executive Robert Thuo said of the plant that was constructed to enhance fish farming in the Mt Kenya region.

Fish farming in the county was introduced through the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) in the 2009/10 financial year.

Through the programme, a total of 1,000 fingerlings were distributed to each farmer where they got free feeds, ponds were built and stocked in a project that lasted six months.

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After training they were expected to move to the next stages on their own.

On Thursday, during the official opening of the Central region Agriculture show in Nyeri,  President Uhuru Kenyatta asked residents to take up fish farming and utilize the factory.

“I am urging the farmers to make good use of the processing facility which is currently operating under capacity due to low fish production,” he said.

But according to Mr Thuo, farmers are still shy to take up fish farming as a lucrative business.

Fish farming is a major contributor to the country’s food and nutrition security, income generation and employment. During the 2016/2017 fiscal year the fisheries directorate procured a total of 134, 000 monosex fingerlings for restocking exercise worth Sh2 million.