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Kisumu gets Sh40M weed harvesting machine from India

The Indian Government has donated a modern Sh 40 million water hyacinth harvester to Kisumu County in a bid to eradicate the invasive weed in Lake Victoria.

The Indian High Commissioner to Kenya, Ms Namgya Khampa and Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o during the official handing over ceremony of the Sh40 million water hyacinth harvester at the Kisumu Shipyard on Tuesday. Photo by Robert Ojwang’

The Indian High Commissioner to Kenya Namgya Khampa handed over the harvester to Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o at the Kenya Shipyard in Kisumu on Tuesday.

Ms Khampa said the donation is in line with her Government’s efforts towards the conservation and protection of the Lake Victoria ecosystem by offering sustainable technological solutions.

The harvester supplied under the Government of India Aid to Africa Budget will help address the environmental and economic challenges presented by the stubborn weed.

“Technology driven approach to finding solutions is something the government of India has increasingly adopted to mitigate the challenges facing it and other developing countries and have continuously resorted to local solutions focused on technology,” she stated.

The innovation, added Khampa, will also be converting the bye-products to fertiliser and animal feed to ensure sustainable development and address environmental concerns on a circular economy concept that is increasingly gaining traction around the world.

Besides, the bye-products from the harvested water hyacinth can be used by local investors in making artefacts, furniture and biogas production.

Prof Nyong’o said that the development is a major boost towards the environmental conservation campaign and has come at the right time when the county is grappling with an increased invasion of the lake by water hyacinth.

The County boss disclosed that the milestone is a culmination of a process he started with Khampa’s predecessor in 2018.

Nyong’o pleaded with the national government, environmentalists, researchers, stakeholders, and organisations vested with the lake’s management to team up in an effort to curb the water hyacinth menace to save the lake.

“This gift could change the course of our relentless campaign to save this natural resource. For the past thirty years, the weed has slowly but steadily choked the lake which is a source of livelihood to millions of people in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania,” he said.

The machine is electric powered with a capacity to harvest 3 Metric tonnes of water hyacinth in ten minutes.

The innovator of the harvester Godach Marashna who has been in Kisumu to assemble the machine said it requires minimum manpower to operate.

“It has a remote control system and its mobility from one point to another is easier due to its lightweight compared to other interventions,” Mr Marashna stated.

The county has also collaborated with experts from India to train students from local Vocational Training Centres on how to operate the machine.

The introduction of the machine is expected to be a game changer for the fish cage farmers from the region who have incurred massive losses following the sudden death of their fish stock in Lake Victoria.

The phenomenon, according to Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), was precipitated by among other factors, the decomposition of water hyacinth at the bottom of the lake causing low oxygen levels, thus, affecting aquatic life.

By Robert Ojwang’

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