Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has set aside Sh2.1 billion for the construction works of the Shimoni fishing port project in Kwale County.
The construction of the Shimoni port is expected to have a positive impact on trade and economic growth through large scale exploitation of the fish industry bolstered by a ready market and value addition which will spur the creation of special economic zones.
Chairman of the KPA board of directors Benjamin Tayari said the construction of the long-awaited Shimoni fishing port was part of efforts by the government to promote fisheries in the coastal region.
Tayari said so far Sh2.5 billion has been set aside for the industrial fishing port adding that more funds would be injected in the project as time goes by.
He revealed that the basic infrastructure development of this new modern fishing port will be built using KPA resources entirely.
Mr. Tayari said Kenya currently has no dedicated fishing port and that the Shimoni port which will have a market hall, cannery, storage facility and a wastewater treatment facility will be the first in the country.
The KPA chairman said they are investing huge money in port development infrastructure that will boost fishery activities in the Indian Ocean and attract more investors in the value production chain.
Tayari noted the initial funds will be used for phase 1 of the civil-related infrastructure works including buildings, pavement works, roads and storm water constructions of the fishing harbor.
Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani, Tayari indicated that the strategic project which is a top priority project will spur growth of the blue economy sector.
He said the new fishing harbour would not only act as a growth engine of the coastal region’s economy but also boost the livelihoods of several thousands of fisher folks.
“We thank President William Ruto who has given us priority to fast track construction of Shimoni Port. We already have a contractor on site and we want to ensure that the project is undertaken within the set time frame,” said Tayari.
He said the construction of a fishing port facility including piers, integrated cold storage and ice block machines will enable local fisher folk to use the well-equipped fishing port thus increasing the added value of marine products.
During the visit Governor Achani handed over the title deed for Shimoni Port to the KPA Board Chairman.
She expressed her commitment to ensure the successful development of the Shimoni Fishing Port spearheaded by KPA which is expected to be completed within a period of 24 months.
“As a county we are ready to give all the required support to fast track construction of the Shimoni Port,” she said.
The county boss said the devolved unit was fully in support of the project and will continue working closely with KPA to ensure the project is completed on time.
She said the new project is going to transform the lives of fisher folks and will lead to the sprouting of fish processing industries which would significantly boost job creation and economic growth for the region.
The governor highlighted that the project is a major boost to the fishing industry which has been underperforming because of over-relying on traditional fishing methods.
“The construction is also expected to lead to the revitalization of the local fishing industry and improve the livelihood of coastal communities,” said Achani.
She also said the devolved unit in collaboration with the Ministry of Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs is undertaking various infrastructure projects.
These include the renovation and rehabilitation of the Vanga fish landing site, construction of the National Mariculture Resource Centre at Shimoni, fish landing site development at Kibuyuni and fish landing site development at Gazi.
By Hussein Abdullahi and Mary Aluoch