Turkana and Marsabit Counties will receive 10 million pounds (approx. Sh. 1.52billion) from the Embassy of Netherlands to exploit Lake Turkana which is shared by the two counties.
In a meeting with stakeholders including officials from Turkana and Marsabit Counties, Dutch Ambassador to Kenya Maarten Brouwer announced that his country would invest €10 million for five years.
The Embassy has committed to supporting a co-finance of quick interventions as well as a long-term programme for sustainable development of the value chain.
Amb. Brouwer stated the need to set up food chains that are less vulnerable to climate shocks as the region dealt with the effects of climate change.
“The fish sector has great potential to help to build resilience in the immediate and long-term. We must see it as part of government strategy to build resilience in areas that are more vulnerable to climate change than others,” he said.
A study commissioned by the Embassy to study the economic potential of the fisheries sector in Lake Turkana revealed the existence of enormous potential in the sector to contribute to food security. It/ recommended the establishment of cold chain logistics to allow for the trading of fresh fish and the inclusion of water resource management for sustainable fishing.
The stakeholders learnt that the private sector in Kenya and the Netherlands was ready to engage in solutions to challenges facing the sector.
Governor Jeremiah Lomorukai, in a speech delivered on his behalf by County Executive for Agriculture, Livestock Development and Fisheries David Erukudi outlined plans by the County Government, including developing a fish processing plant, cool chain facilities and equipment support for the fisher folk.
“The fish processing plant will help reduce post-harvest losses and add value to fish and fish products, therefore increasing the market value of fish products and opening up new markets,” he said.
He called for support to carry out a fish stock assessment, establishment of solar-based cold chain facilities at fish landing points, and the development of aquaculture as an alternative source of livelihood.
Principal Secretary for Blue Economy and Fisheries Betsy Muthoni Njagi expressed the national government’s commitment to developing the blue economy.
“The blue economy is a frontier to contribute to the economic growth of Kenya and we are committed to working with CoG and the Dutch Embassy to achieve the objectives of this programme,” she said.
Turkana County Executive for Tourism, Culture, Natural Resources and Climate Change Iris Mariao expressed appreciation for the proposal to strengthen private sector involvement but asked for the introduction of programmes on complimentary livelihoods for the fisher folk as the sector was facing challenges including climate change.
By Peter Gitonga