Consumption of fish is yet to gain traction among residents of Mt. Kenya region in spite of fish’s high nutritional value and immunity boosting.
It’s in recognition of the importance of fish eating to the wellbeing of the human body that the County government of Nyeri has embarked on a campaign to popularize fish farming and eating habits in the traditionally agricultural region.
Dubbed ‘Eat More Fish Campaign’, the initiative spearheaded by the county’s Department of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries is rallying local people to embrace fish eating as a healthy nutrition practice.
Fish is classified as a low fat high quality protein filled with Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins such as D and B2. It’s also rich in calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, iodine, magnesium and potassium.
Fish is also believed to contain numerous nutrients that help in lowering blood pressure and reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
The fish eating initiative also involves encouraging local farmers to rear fish. They are provided with the necessary infrastructure including fingerlings and feeds.
Public demonstrations on how to check on the quality of fish, processing and how best to prepare a fish meal are then staged for the benefit of local people.
The county government has purchased a 3-tonne refrigerated truck, 10 deep freezers with a capacity of 200kg each and 10 electronic weighing scales which have been distributed to sub counties in a bid to give the campaign impetus.
In addition, through Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP), a fish farming promotion project funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the county has restocked Gakindu, Ithemuigi, Karii, Ruthagati, Njeng’u, Murera, Ithenguri and Chinga dams with mixed-sex fingerlings.
The ABDP project will run for eight years and aims at investing in rural areas and focuses on promoting production of fish by small holder aquaculture farmers.
By Kiamah Wamutitu