Fish farming and change of eating culture is gaining momentum in Central Kenya as attested by the increasing demand for certified fingerlings.
According to the Fisheries Principal Secretary, Dr. Francis Owino, Nyeri County has placed a Sh1 million order worth of fingerlings at the Sagana Aquaculture Research Centre in Kirinyaga County.
Owino said this was a clear manifestation of the commitment of the County to improve fish farming in the area.
He said farmers in the County would have a good start since their ponds will be stocked with certified fingerlings supplied free as a boost to the sector.
Speaking to the Media at the Centre yesterday before opening a stakeholder meeting, Owino said the Country has a huge potential for the fish sector.
He said going by the high demand and the desire by the farmers to venture into aquaculture, the sector was headed for a major headway.
“The government due to its commitment to reviving this sector which also includes fish from our ocean (blue economy), has pumped up to slightly over Sh15 billion to ensure it was successful,” he said.
He said fish production stood at only 10,000 metric tons in 2009 and after the Economic Stimulus Program was started, production has risen to 45,000 metric tons.
The Official said with the country now only able to produce 160,000 metric tons there was a deficit of 350,000 metric tons a year, which are imported to cover up the huge balance.
“Once all the measures we have put in place to revive this sector come into fruition, I can assure you that by the year 2030 our country will have become fish sufficient and start exporting the surplus,” he said.
He said the fish farming culture has since been introduced in several schools across the country and eventually majority of such institutions will become fish producers and contribute towards reducing the national deficit gap.
Accompanied by the Fisheries Director-General, Daniel Mungai, the PS said a Stabilisation Fund for the sector just like in other agricultural sectors has been put in place to cushion the farmers against bad days. Mungai on his side said they have also introduced fishing in schools through the small-scale Aquaponics, a project where students are exposed to modern fish production technology for income generation, nutrition, and food security.
Kirinyaga County is leading in aquaculture farming in the region with the County Government coming up with supportive measures for 34 new farmers whom it supplied with pond liners and fish feeds for six months.
By Irungu Mwangi