Kisumu County Government plans to leverage on the youth innovations to revive the aquaculture sector in its bid to strengthen food production and agribusiness in the lake region.
Deputy Governor, Dr Mathew Owili, appreciated the innovations exhibited by various participants at the Youth Conference in Aquaculture and Business Development, held at a Kisumu hotel.
Owili said they have prioritised food security and agribusiness as the key drivers to position the youth at the forefront of agricultural growth.
“The people from this region have performed so well in their various disciplines. We now need a mindset change so that youths can also indulge in farming,” noted Owili.
The County Government in partnership with Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) among others hosted the annual event that aims at identifying practical innovations and upscaling them for industrial use.
According to the Deputy Governor, youths offer a dynamic workforce that is innovative and when tapped can spur economic growth in the aquaculture and agribusiness sector.
The World Bank 2014 survey estimated youths at over 35 percent of Kenya’s total population with over 1 million entering the job market every year.
The County intends to invest in the youths because of their high uptake of technological know-how and ability to take on significant levels of risks.
The godsend initiative will help solve the increasing unemployment situation among the youth as the aquaculture sector employs a number of young people.
To catalyze the growth of the blue economy amid Covid-19 pandemic the County government in collaboration with IFAD has established Aquaculture Business Development Programme.
The project targets 1,544 beneficiaries aimed at reducing poverty and increasing food security through aquaculture development.
The County has also set up an Agricultural Sector Development Programme – a capacity building venture targeting over 4,800 fish value chain actors aimed at improving their incomes.
In addition, the County has built a Fish Integrated Aqua Park at a cost of Sh67 million for the innovation and technology transfer in Seme Sub County.
Major markets in the area have ice making plants and fish cooling facilities installed to reduce losses due to poor post-harvest handling and storage.
By Robert Ojwang’