The National Government has called on the Tharaka Nithi County government to embrace the establishment of a research institute in the county to promote fish production and consumption in the region.
The Principal Secretary (PS) for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy, Prof. Micheni Ntiba said the establishment of a Kenya Marine and Research Institute in the area will not only promote fish farming and consumption but will also create employment for the youth of the county.
“The establishment of the institution with headquarters in Tharaka Nithi County will, besides promoting fish farming, also enhance food security and nutritional status in the county besides creating employment opportunities for the youth,” said the PS.
Prof. Ntiba who was presiding over the “Eat more fish campaign” in a Chuka resort on Friday disclosed that the State Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy has established the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP) to increase income, food security and nutritional status of poor rural households in wider communities that are new to fish consumption.
“To this end, the government is making tremendous efforts to encourage members of the public to develop interest in fish consumption especially among the communities that had low affinity for the highly nutritious and protein rich marine resources,” explained the PS.
Speaking during the event, Governor Muthomi Njuki echoed the sentiments of the PS by encouraging the residents to embrace fish consumption that will have an end effect of empowering themselves.
“We should develop the culture of fish farming and consumption to empower ourselves especially the youth who will not only get job opportunities in the overall food chain but could also become self- employed through fish farming,” said the Governor.
Njuki called on the residents of the county to take advantage of the numerous rivers and streams emanating from the Mt. Kenya forest to start fish ponds as a way of diversifying their sources of income especially during the prevailing hard economic times.
Present during the event was the County Commissioner (CC), Ms. Beverly Opwora who undertook to offer full support to county government in the aquaculture department in order to increase the revenue base for the local farmers in the county.
The CC disclosed that as the security team they will ensure that the farmers are secure and will also chip into the mobilization of the members of the public into barazas where the merits of fish farming and consumption will be emphasized.
Ms. Opwora was quick to remind the youth and women from the county not to be left behind in the promising venture and should be aggressive just like the Luo youth and women who are serious fish mongers who bring Tilapia and other fresh water fish from Lake Victoria all the way to the county.
The event was quite successful with many fish farmers from the county turning out in huge numbers to gain more knowledge on the prospects of the new venture that has started to bear fruits in the county.
Others in attendance were the Tharaka Nithi County Government Chief Officer for Livestock and Fisheries, Dr. Mbae Nkoroi, the National Coordinator of Aquaculture Business Programs, Dr. Sammy Macharia and Secretary General of project, Susan Imende.
The Aquaculture Business Development Program aims at increasing fish consumption per person to 4.5 kg per year to enhance nutrition considering that food security is the second pillar in the governments big four agenda.
By Sarafina Mutabari/David Mutwiri