Sh 22 Million Grants To Groups Boosts Lamu’s Fishing Sector

Counties Development Editor's Pick Lamu

Kenya Marine Fisheries and Socio-Economic Development (KEMSFED) has begun providing grants totaling Sh22 million to smallholder fishing and common interest groups to expand the county’s burgeoning blue economy sector.

The grants that have been released to 28 common interest groups in Lamu is part of the KEMSFED national project aimed at disbursing Sh315 million to 142 communities within the five coastal counties.

Beneficiaries are common interest groups spread across 98 focus wards in 19 sub counties within the coast hosting the highest number of households that are largely dependent on fisheries to ensure that they maximize sustainable economic benefits from marine resources available.

Speaking during the launch of the KEMSFED grant initiative at the Lamu county Mokowe headquarters Lamu County Governor Issa Abdalla Timamy stated that the grants would further enable the county to speed up plans to modernize Lamu’s cottage fishing sector.

“The grants that have been disbursed by the World Bank through the KEMSFED project aim to improve the livelihoods of fishermen who are still largely dependent on old ways of fishing despite the enormous potential to grow the fishing sector,” he said.

He revealed that Lamu would receive a total of Sh500 million once the Sh10 billion KEMSFED five-year project is fully rolled out.

KEMSFED grants are implemented under the Enhanced Livelihoods for Coastal Communities initiative for which Lamu will receive Sh49 million within the first phase of the rollout.

“There has been a lot of push especially by my administration to have the funds rolled out promptly, since occupying the position of Chairman of the Blue Economy within the Council of Governors,” he added.

He further added that plans are currently underway to set up a fish market, an ice plant and a fish preparation area within Mokowe Township in a move that he stated would create job opportunities.

County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge Fisheries and Blue Economy Faiz Fankupi who also spoke at the launch gave assurance to the interest groups over the county’s support to aid in modernizing the fishing sector.

He said that the grants are meant to fund productive livelihoods to support the fishermen’s access to complimentary livelihoods as one way to reduce dependence on fishing in light of declining catch due to overfishing and climate change effects.

Fankupi further stated that the county government was in the process of securing title deeds to all the fish landing sites within Lamu County in order to prevent land grabbing.

“The Lamu county government has so far been able to secure the title deed to Kiunga landing site which can now be used by fishermen without fear of it being grabbed by anyone,” he said.

These sentiments  were echoed separately by Lands, Roads, Urban, Physical Planning, Water and Natural Resources CEC Tashrifa Mohammed who stated that that the county government was currently processing title deeds to 15 landing sites across the county.

Fisheries Chief Officer Kamalu Shariff intimated that the county government was also set to increase its annual fisheries and blue economy development budget to Sh40 million from Sh15 million in the supplementary budget, a move that he said signals the county government’s commitment to improve the blue economy sector in Lamu.

By Amenya Ochieng

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