The Principal Secretary State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy Dr. Francis Owino, has said that the future of the fishing industry is Aquaculture because the current water bodies are stressed and over utilized by the growing population.
He was speaking during the launch of the Aquaculture Farmers Input and Equipment for extension Services at the DCC compound in Kisukioni Town of Matungulu Sub County in Machakos County. He said that the Aquaculture Business Development Program is a National program being implemented in 15 Counties.
The PS said that there is a shortfall of fish production in Kenya because of the high population and stressed current water bodies hence there is need to construct water ponds.
“The current water bodies are stressed and overused because of the increasing human population who use the water bodies for transport and other activities. As a result, there is a shortfall of annual fish production every year,” the PS pointed out.
Owino however, said even though there are challenges, people must eat fish and the next frontier of millionaires and big businessmen will come from the Aquaculture industry because fish farming is safe and smart.
“Fish farming is smart and safe as long as you feed your fish, you will never stress over treating it as they don’t get sick or run away,” added Owino.
Some 200 farmers were given predator nets, and pond liners to boost fish production in Machakos. The PS urged the fish farmers to take care of the predator nets and pond liners they were given by the government and not misuse it for other purposes.
“I urge you not to misuse the predator nets and pond liners because I know some may use them as fences for their kitchen gardens. Please use it for the intended purpose since the government has spent a lot to provide them,” urged the PS.
On his part Deputy Governor Machakos County Francis Maliti urged Machakos farmers to take fish farming as a business and adding that the County will support in finding markets for them.
Maliti said that some of the best fish farmers are in Ukambani because fish farming does not require a big farm but just a small space where one can do intensive fish farming.
“We encourage fish farmers to make it a business since fish farming only requires a small space where one can do intensive fish farming and we promise to support the farmers by finding markets for them,” added Maliti.
Eight motorcycles were distributed to enable extension officers to serve the farmers for maximum production and three laptops were also given to be used for data capture and reporting.
Aquaculture is the breeding, rearing and harvesting of fish, Shellfish, algae and other organisms in all types of water environments. It also refers to Cultivation of aquatic organisms in controlled aquatic environments for recreational or public purposes.
Other guests present were National Program Coordinator Sammy Macharia, CEC Department of Agriculture Urbanus Musyoka, MCA Matungulu West Moffat Maitha and farmer representative Peter Munywoki.
By Ann Kangero