The Russian government has partnered with the United Nations (UN) and the Kenyan government to help clear the water hyacinth in Lake Victoria.
Under the partnership, the Russian government has donated Sh.700 million through the UN to help clear up to 14, 000 hectares of the malignant weed within the lake.
The project dubbed Sustainable Management and Utilization of Water Hyacinth in Lake Victoria Basin will be implemented over the next three years.
Speaking on Monday during the launch of the programme in Kisumu, the Russian Ambassador to Kenya, Dimitry Amaksimychev announced the project would be implemented by the Kisumu county government with technical support from the UN Kenya country team.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) will handle the sustainable land management and environmental policy aspects while the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) would focus on the economic utilisation aspect.
Amaksimychev said the donation was part of Russia’s support for Africa’s sustainable development, Kenya’s Vision 2030 and the Big 4 agenda.
“We are looking forward to partner with the government of Kenya and UN Kenya country team to enable the country realise the Sustainable Development Goals,” he said.
The project, he said, would seek to attract private sector interest especially in the converted products from hyacinth, to providing inputs, equipment, finance, and development of markets.
He added that the overall goal of the programme was to benefit an estimated 4.5 million people sharing the lake in the five riparian counties of Kisumu, Busia, Migori, Homa Bay and Siaya.
The Devolution and ASAL’s Cabinet Secretary (CS), Eugene Wamalwa who was part of the entourage lauded the Russian government for the support.
This, he said, demonstrated that development partners were in lock-step with the president’s big four agenda.
“As the National Government, we are committed to supporting this partnership towards a highly impactful outcome,” he said.
Speaking during the same occasion, the UN Resident Coordinator to Kenya, Siddhartha Chatterjee said the launch of the project was key in promotion of sustainable blue economy in the country.
The Kisumu Governor, Prof. Anyang Nyong’o said the project would not only address the water hyacinth menace but also turn around the lives of the people living around the lake.
By Atieno Melody/Melody Brigit