Victory Farms, a fast-growing fish farm rooted in Homa Bay County will partner with county governments to improve production of fish to meet the growing demands of quality fish.
An official from the company, Ceasar Asiyo said the company produces and supplies 30 metric tons of fish for the market every day.
Mr Asiyo who is the company’s Chief Development Officer noted that the country faced a deficit of an estimate 270,000 metric tons annually.
He said to meet the local fish demand and have enough supply for export, there was need for collaboration between private sector players and the government.
“Our approach is not to compete with others but to provide solutions to curb the dwindling fish stocks in Kenya,” he said.
He said through cage fishing, Victory Farms produces at least 10,000 metric tons of high quality tilapia annually which is distributed and served to millions of customers in their sales outlets countrywide.
Mr Asiyo said the company is seeking to address all the challenges that bedevil the lake and makes it unable to produce enough fish.
Speaking Wednesday during a presser in Homa Bay Town, the official said they have opened 80 sales outlets across the country, the latest being in Bondo Town.
He urged county governments in the lake region to ensure sustainable exploitation of the lake to produce high-quality fish.
Mr Asiyo said they are already working with the County government of Homa Bay where the firm was founded and is based.
He said Migori and Siaya counties have also shown interest in partnering with Victory Farm after seeing the success stories including employing thousands of local of residents.
In other partnerships, the company is exploring opportunities in aquaculture, aquaponics, and irrigation.
“We have identified communities where ponds are built and farmers given brood stalks. The farmers afterwards harvest the fish and sell it to the company,” he said. He said water from the ponds can also be used for irrigation.
“What we are doing can be replicated all around the lake region and the riparian counties can become Kenya’s food basket,” Mr Asiyo said.
Mr Andrew Okoth, a fish farmer said despite the county’s proximity to Lake Victoria, the fish produced cannot meet the demand.
“We are optimistic that partnering with Victory Farms will enable us to provide fish for all families. We intend to work with the company in setting up brooding sites to enable us to get more tilapia,” he said.
He said the player in fish production is just helping in addressing the deficit besides creating employment for residents.
“Being able to trace the source of fish ensures food safety. Unlike wild catches, fish from cages have a chain that can be traced whenever someone falls sick after eating fish,” Mr Okoth said.
He said although a lot of fish is imported from China, most consumers prefer fish from the lake.
“That is why we welcome partners to ensure we utilise the lake to produce our own fish,” he said.
Fish traders and food sellers in Homa Bay Town commended the company saying fish sourced from the beaches are expensive compared to purchasing from the company.
Ms Daysy Awuor who operates a food Kiosk in Homa Bay Town said buying fish from the shop saves time and money.
“At the beach, women are vulnerable as some fishermen ask for sexual favours before selling fish. But when the company established fish sales outlets, such vices were curbed,” she said.
By Davis Langat