Kenya is set to join the league of largest fisheries and aquaculture producers on the continent following the approval of the Sh. 2.5 billion Kabonyo-Kanyagwal fish project in Kisumu.
The project funded by the Republic of Hungary and the government of Kenya will see seven million fingerlings produced annually and distributed to farmers across the country.
Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Salim Mvurya said the first phase of the project to be commissioned by President William Ruto in February next year will cost Sh. 1 billion.
Phase II of the project, he said, will cost Sh. 1.5 billion adding that once completed the facility will provide aquaculture interventions nationally.
Besides fingerlings production, the CS said the center will facilitate training, research, innovation and best practices in fisheries and aquaculture through demonstrations and incubations.
Other components of the project, he said include a Nile Perch multiplication centre, aquaculture resource centre and the Kenya Fishing School.
Mvurya said the government was committed to full implementation of the project adding that the Sh. 1 billion for Phase I of the project was ready. “We are working on the necessary procurement after which the President will come to do the groundbreaking for the project on 6th February 2023,” he said.
The CS who visited the site of the project assured the locals that they will be engaged in the construction of the project.
Hungarian Embassy Project Coordinator Zsoti Audai said structures have been put in place to fast track the project which will be the first one of its kind in Africa.
“We have only implemented projects of this nature in South East Asia and Pakistan. Kabonyo Kanyagwal will be the first project of this nature in Africa,” he said.
The center of excellence, he added, will be a training ground for fish farmers and members of the community to build their capacity and resuscitate fish farming in the country.
The project implemented jointly with Tom Mboya University (TMU) will not only build capacity for fish farmers in the country but also develop a competent workforce to drive the country’s aquaculture and blue economy agenda.
Tom Mboya University Acting Vice Chancellor Prof. Charles Ochola said the institution has modeled programmes on aquaculture and the blue economy to help the government realize set goals in the sector.
“I want to assure you that the university has put in place structures to make this project work,” he said.
Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili said the county government will give the necessary support to ensure that the project takes off. “I want to assure the community that all devolved services that are key in making this project a success will be made available,” he said.
Kabonyo Kanyagwal Member of County Assembly (MCA) Oiko Pete lauded the Cabinet for approving the project saying it will go a long way in transforming the community.
Pete said besides aquaculture, farmers in the area will reap big from cotton, soya beans and sunflower farming through supplying the project’s fish feed manufacturing component.
Roads leading to the project site, he added, were also set to be upgraded to bitumen standard further opening up the vast ward for development.
He asked the various national and county government agencies implementing the project to fast track it and ensure it is implemented fully as envisaged.
By Chris Mahandara