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Government to align blue economy objectives

The government in partnership with World Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will establish projects to improve and increase the incomes of poor households involved in aquaculture practices.

This follows the commitment the government made to provide cooling storage systems, put Beach Management Units (BMUs) into SACCOs and Cooperatives and landing sites to ease fishermen’s management and access funding from financial institutions.

Speaking during the consultative meeting between the Blue Economy Committee of the Council of Governors and Development Partners in the Sector held at Voyager Beach Resort, Busia Governor, Paul Nyongesa Otuoma, who is also the County Executive Committee Member (CECM), Water, Irrigation and Natural Resources said that the meeting’s goal is to work on aligning the sector’s objectives to ensure teamwork towards achieving the goal of value addition.

“We are working together to ensure the resources we are receiving are utilized to achieve the socio-economic well-being of the citizens as far as the blue economy is concerned,” said Otuoma.

He added that the landing sites of fisheries need to be improved in order to support the fishermen, thus the Beach Management Units (BMU) should effectively be transformed into SACCOS to become investment groups.

Otuoma noted that the sector is focusing on two major initiatives to be implemented with support from the development partners, namely, the Kenya Marine Fisheries and Socio Economic Development (KEMFSED) project and Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP).

KEMFSED is a Government of Kenya and World Bank-funded project whose objective is to improve the management of priority fisheries and Mari-culture and increase access to complementary livelihood activities in coastal communities.

This development target is intended to tap on massive resources in the Blue Space and contribute to the development of the sector.

Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs, Salim Mvurya pledged to officially launch cooling storage containers for the BMUs along the coastal counties.

“We have programmes in Aquaculture that integrate research and implementation; Kabonyo Kanyagual will be implemented by the Government of Kenya in collaboration with the Government of Hungary which will provide 7 million fingerlings to the counties participating in the aquaculture activities”, said Mvurya.

The CS said that Marine fisheries can create at least 60,000 direct jobs and 180,000 indirect jobs in the next five years and in order to achieve that, more investments in fishing, value addition and Mari culture is required.

The chairman of Blue Economy who is also the Governor to Lamu County, Issa Timamy promised that they shall eradicate the stereotypical culture of fishermen living a hand to mouth life and make their lives better.

Timamy said that the sector is a priority area for the counties noting that it already supports an estimated 2 million people directly and indirectly as fishermen, traders, processors, input suppliers and providers of related services.

“As we sail towards a sustainable blue economy, this meeting is a prime opportunity for all of us to gather our collective efforts and capitalize on the opportunities that exist within the Blue Economy in our country and beyond for the benefit of our people and future generations”, Timamy concluded.

By Fatuma Said

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