The government through the state of fisheries has completed the construction and equipping of ultramodern fish landing sites at Sori and Lwanda Kotieno beaches at a cost of Sh 280 million.
The twin projects in Sori (Migori) and Lwanda kotieno (Siaya), done at a cost of shs 140 million each, commenced January 2022 targets to harness the potential of fishing industry in the region.
Speaking during the inspection of fish landing site at Lwanda Kotieno beach the PS Aquaculture and blue economy Dr Francis Owino described the projects as a game changer that shape trade in the industry for the benefit of the fisherman.
The landing sites have been equipped with fish storage facilities, processing sections, ice making plants, power back-up generators, fish bi-product and waste management machines and conference rooms among other facilities key in reducing post-harvest loses.
“I am impressed by the work done by contractors at the two sites. They have assured me that the projects will be handed to the state department of fisheries next week who will in turn hand them over to the community,” PS Owino said
Dr Owino disclosed that the facilities have the potential of storing the fish for more than five years and therefore fishermen will not be in a hurry to sell their fish at throw away price for fear that it will go bad.
“Lack of storage facility has been a hindrance to the development of the fishing sector here. Post-harvest loss due to hot weather has denied our fishermen opportunity to reap maximum profit from their products,” he said.
“The fishermen have been forced to sell their fish cheaply to opportunistic traders because of fear that their fish will go bad due to lack of storage facility. This facility here will change all that as the fishermen can now store their fish and determine the right price for their products,” Dr Owino added.
The PS who was flanked by Rarieda MP Dr Otiende Amollo during the project inspection revealed besides the local market in the country, the fish will also be exported to the Democratic Republic of Congo after a deal between the two countries was signed following intense bi-lateral negotiations.
Dr Otiende Amollo observed that the completion of the modern fish landing sites is a testimony that the government has remembered the region that has been historically neglected.
Dr Otiende said that through the projects hundreds of livelihoods of people living around the lake will be restored and the health and life expectancy of the people is expected to improve.
The legislator reiterated that with the storage facility in place and with the ability to determine the correct price for the product the economic livelihoods of the fisher folk will also improve.
He urged the fishermen to put the facilities into good use adding that as stakeholders in the sector, his office intends to put structures that will bring together the Beach Management Units, the county and National government and the local political leadership to ensure the projects run smoothly for the benefit of the fishermen.
“We do not want this huge investment to turn into white elephant. We intend to bring every stakeholder on board for its success so that similar projects can be remodeled in other beaches” Otiende stated.
By Brian Ondeng