Lack of market for fish and the high cost of production coupled with poor storage facilities have discouraged many potential Kenyans from embracing aquaculture farming.
Consequently, the national government in partnership with the Migori County government has come up with an economic stimulus project that is aimed at laying a good foundation for fish farmers to improve on fish production in the region.
Principal Secretary for Fisheries and Aquaculture, Dr Francis Owino, while leading a team of fisheries experts in assessing the region’s fisheries status today, said that the state will work towards improving extension services with a view to giving fish production a big boost.
The PS who was with the Migori County Commissioner, Boaz Cherutich and several officials from the county government, said his ministry will provide vehicles and motorcycles to extension officers to enable them reach out to farmers and support them.
Owino who addressed the press at Opapo’s Rio Fish Plant in Rongo Sub-county, said that one of the challenges that many farmers who wish to venture into fish farming face shortage of fingerlings.
He said alongside the effort, recruited farmers will be supplied with enough fingerlings by the county government.
“Another challenge facing fish farmers is the shortage of fish feeds. The fish feed is very expensive and constitutes 60-70 per cent of the total production and most farmers can’t afford it,” said Owino.
He assured farmers that the economic stimulus project was also an intervention that will cobble good prices for farmers as well as find good markets within and outside the country.
The county government in collaboration with the national government will negotiate for affordable prices with fish feed manufacturers, as some of the producers who were present during the event at Opapo admitted that the cost of fish production had gone up tenfold during the past few years.
The PS urged all residents of Migori County to embrace fish farming as a business opportunity to promote livelihoods, especially with the availability of the Opapo fishing plant which is already operational for the aquaculture farmers.
By Cynthia Kihu and George Agimba