Fish farmers in Nyeri have benefited from pond liners from the County government in conjunction with the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP).
ABDP is a programme covering 15 counties including Nyeri, Embu, Meru in Central region and Kisumu, Migori, Homa Bay in western region to boost and improve fish production among farmers, who belong to the Fish Farmers Cooperative Society.
Speaking at Wamagana Mini Fish Processing Plant in Tetu sub-county Friday, Fisheries Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Ms Jebii Kilimo said that the government will work jointly with the farmers to boost growth of the economy.
Kilimo was in the area to launch a fish recipe booklet and oversee handing over of pond construction /rehabilitation materials to the local fish farmers.
“Farmers will benefit from the E-voucher Fund from the government, where 70 percent will be catered for by the government, whereas 30 percent will be from the farmers,” said Kilimo, adding that the funds will help farmers buy fish feeds as well as sustaining the fish.
The CAS added that farmers with small parcels of land should engage in aquaponics, a combination of aquaculture, which is keeping fish and other aquatic animals and hydroponics, that is growing plants without soil.
Speaking during the same occasion, the Principal Secretary (PS), State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy Prof. Micheni Ntiba said that the government has enacted a law to help fish farmers sell their products directly to the market without involving the middle men.
“This program is targeting to improve fish production from 100 to 500 kilogrammes per year for each farmer,” stated Ntiba.
The PS urged farmers to uphold fish farming since the factory has the capacity to produce 65,000 tons of fish products annually yet it produced only 35 last year.
He added that farmers should engage in water harvesting and asked investors to invest in cheap but quality fish feeds.
Nyeri County Executive for Agriculture, livestock and Fisheries James Wachihi said that the County government has rehabilitated 226 fish ponds to ensure farmers go back to fish farming for they had already given up.
“By rehabilitating the ponds, we will operationalize the factory which is said to be dormant,” reiterated Wachihi.
He said that the key potential of the program is to create employment for the youth and women as well as boost nutrition in Nyeri County, since it leads with non-communicable diseases due to lack of proteins.
A local farmer, Charles Mbauni said that they had been struggling with fish markets, since the fish produced by local farmers was too little as per the requirements.
The processing plant at Wamagana adds value to fish by making sausages, samosas, kebabs, cakes as well as other recipes.
By Consolata king’ori/Juliah karugu