Turkana Deputy Governor Peter Lotethiro on Thursday inaugurated 10 boats and fishing nets worth Sh11 million provided by United Nations World Food Program (UNWFP) under the Sustainable Food system Programme.
Under the five-year partnership programme signed last year, Katiko, Lomekui, Kataboi, Nasechabuin and Kalimapus Beach Management Units benefited from fishing gear that included six motorized wooden boats, four fibre motorized boats, four engines, gill nets and assorted safety gear.
In his remarks during the launch at Kalokol trading center, Lotethiro lauded the WFP partnership program on fish industry that he said would go a long way in improving fisher folks’ economic venture, reducing post-harvest losses and increase fish production.
He said the new boats would supplement existing fishing boats procured by the County Government and increase the fish catch at Lake Turkana, which he said had so far not achieved the full potential.
Lotethiro reiterated the County Government’s plans to support the fisher folk through market linkages that will provide value addition to fishermen along the lake region.
The Deputy Governor assured WFP of the government’s commitment to continue partnership on livelihood programs to economically uplift lives of wananchi and make sure that the Program is successful through complementing their activities.
WFP Kenya Head of Food Systems and Resilient Livelihoods Shaun Hughes said that the organisation is investing more than one billion shillings in the Program to bolster efficient food systems and resilient livelihoods in partnership with the County government.
He said the livelihoods projects are tailored along the County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP).
County Executive for Agriculture, Pastoral Economy and Fisheries Chris Aletia said that distribution of boats was a new approach towards self-dependence and a shift from the tradition of food distribution.
He warned those engaged in under-size fishing that the amnesty period had elapsed and anyone caught would face full force of the law.
Fisheries and Veterinary Services Chief Officer Dr.Michael Eregae said that the Department was focused on making the fishing activity more commercial through procurement of more fishing gear and capacity building of the fishermen.
Also present were Fisheries Director Robert Kibunja, Turkana Central Deputy Sub-County Administrator Esther Lokitoe, Fisheries assistant Director David Namwaya, among other Officers of the County Government.
WFP Lodwar office Centre Coordinator Ruth Amatola and a host of officers drawn from Livestock Market systems and Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute also attended the event.
By Peter Gitonga