Earnings from the sale of fish in Trans Nzoia County declined from Sh.2.55 million in 2017 to Sh.2.1 million in 2018.
The County Fisheries Director (CFD), Jamleck Njeru noted that fish production also decreased from 8.5tonnes to 7.0tonnes during the period under review.
Njeru attributed the decrease to inadequate cold storage facilities.
“We have only one cold storage facility hence most of the fish go bad which discouraged farmers,” he noted.
Speaking to KNA in his office in Kitale on Friday, Njeru noted that the deep freezer which is installed at the county
fisheries department can only support 200Kilograms of fish at a time.
He also said that the quality of fish produced in the county has become poor as a result of lack of quality feeds.
According to the fisheries officer, despite the county having more than 1, 800 fish farmers and 250 fish ponds, fish
farming has continued to face challenges and is on the declining trend.
He said the common types of fish reared in Trans Nzoia are tilapia and cut fish which do well in warm water with
temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius.
“We have also a type of fish known as the trout which does well in Mt. Elgon area with temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius,” he noted.
According to the CFD, the county lacks a fish hatchery but relies on the one that is owned by a farmer who exports to other counties.
“We have one active hatchery that is found near Kitale airstrip that fish farmers get fingerlings at a subsidised price,” he said.
He noted that the county is in the process of constructing 7 fish hatcheries with an approximate size of 3200 square meters.
“Once complete farmers will purchase fingerlings at a subsidised rate,” he explained.
Njeru also stated that the common method used by fish farmers is liner fish ponds and encouraged farmers to seek better technologies to improve production.
He commended fish farmers in Trans Nzoia for registering a fish cooperative society which will help them in marketing and getting loans to improve on their farming activities.
“The county government has plans to assist farmers in buying fingerlings, to rehabilitate the dormant fish ponds and link them to the market since their fish is currently being consumed locally. The government is also offering training to them,” said Njeru.
By Miriam Gitau/Pauline Ikanda