Fish production in Murang’a county is expected to go up after more than 100 farmers in Gatanga Sub County were issued with fingerlings.
The department of fisheries in partnership with Gatanga NG-CDF has given out 50, 000 tilapia fingerlings to farmers who earlier benefited from a government sponsored programme that saw construction of water pans at Ithanga area.
Each farmer was issued with 500 fingerlings Tuesday, aimed at increasing fish farming, thus boosting food security in the semi-arid parts of the county.
Ithanga area so far has benefited from 500 water pans constructed by the national government to the tune of Sh 60 million.
The pans were done by the National Irrigation Authority with aim of tapping runoff water to boost irrigation farming.
The pans, currently full of water apart from providing water for irrigation will now serve another purpose of rearing fish.
An official from the department of fisheries David Waweru has observed that the ponds can support fishing farming, thus ensuring farmers get alternative sources of income.
He said area will be a major source of fish in near future, if the fingerlings are well maintained.
Waweru underscored the move to provide the farmers with fingerlings saying this will lead to high production of fish to cater for its big demand in the country.
The department will in the meantime offer technical assistance to farmers on fish keeping to ensure the project is successful
“The government is geared towards attaining food security especially in arid and semi-arid areas and fish farming is one of many areas the government is investing to attain the goal on food security,” he added.
Waweru further said the department is working out to issue another 500, 000 fingerlings which will be put in public dams within the sub county.
The officer observed that demand for fish in the country is insatiable and that the void in the market is filled with cheap fish imports from China.
He said local farmers will now be able to take advantage of the high demand for fish and make extra returns while still getting a good balanced diet.
“The warm weather in this area is favorable and we know the fish will do well,” said Waweru, noting that the fish is expected to mature in eight months.
Gatanga MP Joseph Nduati on his part promised to provide a refrigerator which will help farmers with fish storage before they are transported to markets.
Fish farming in the area, Nduati noted, will not only provide residents with much needed protein but also create employment to hundreds of locals.
“The government is investing heavily in the agricultural sector as part of President Uhuru Kenyatta Big 4 Agenda. Fish farming is one of the activities to make sure people have enough food,” stated Nduati at Kakuku area where the farmers were issued with the fingerlings.
Residents lauded the programme saying they will embrace fish farming with aim of increasing returns.
Joseph Mutuku, a local resident said his pond will assist him to produce fish for commercial purposes.
He said so far the water pan which was dug last year has helped him to get water for irrigation.
“The fingerlings issued to us will help beneficiaries get money from fish farming. My family will also get an alternative source of protein,” asserted Mutuku.
By Bernard Munyao