Fish farmers in 15 Counties across the country have received assorted inputs and equipment from the National Government to boost fisheries production.
Addressing fish farmers at the Kisii Agricultural Training Centre when he launched the inputs distribution to farmers, Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy PS in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Francis Owino, said the exercise is meant to promote fish farming under the Big Four Agenda pillar on Food Security
”The support being given by the National Government is among intervention measures to support smallholder fish farmers in 15 Counties across the country,” Dr Owino said.
The PS called for close collaboration between farmers and National Government administrators to weed out theft of the commodity from farmers’ ponds across the county.
Dr Owino urged the Gusii community to venture into fish farming saying it was cost effective in terms of capital, labor and time compared to other kinds of farming.
He said fingerlings were available and the commodity is usually ready for harvesting after six months compared to other farming activities which were expensive.
The PS noted that fish numbers in the lake region, which has been the main source for many years, were diminishing with the next frontier in fish production now expected to be through aquaculture.
Kisii County Secretary, Patrick Lumumba, who represented Governor James Ongwae in the function, said the county is agriculturally oriented.
Lumumba said that during the 2013/ 2014 Financial Year, Sh6 million was allocated for setting up of fishponds in Kisii County,
”We have over 2,000 fish farmers in the county. Last year, they earned over Sh49 million from their venture with more support being given for more production,” said Lumumba.
Kisii County Executive Committee Member in charge of Agriculture, Esman Onsarigo, said capacity development for fish farmers in the area is ongoing.
Onsarigo applauded development partners including DANIDA and Kenya Crops and Dairy Market Support Programme for supporting fish farming in the area.
The CEC decried high costs of fish feeds as the machines were costly.
Onsarigo said that there are cases of theft of fish from some ponds or sabotage from some unknown individuals giving an example of a farmer who found the water and fish in his three ponds missing one morning.
He said awareness campaigns will be mounted to end poor fish consumption habits in the region by informing residents on the nutritional value of white meat compared to other meat products.
Kisii Central Deputy County Commissioner, Wilberforce Kilonzo, said area residents are embracing fish farming due to the demand for white meat.
The programme runs in 15 counties with fish farmers encouraged to use modern methods to increase their production capacity.
Fish farmers from five Sub Counties in Kisii County including Bomachoge Borabu, South Mugirango, Kitutu Chache North, Nyaribari Masaba and Bobasi areas will benefit from the programme.
By Jane Naitore