The Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP) and the Counties of Meru, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Kakamega, Homabay and Migori have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand the aquaculture sector.
The ABDP is targeting counties with high concentrations of aquaculture activity, high production, existing sectoral infrastructure (processing, marketing and research), adequate water resources and marketing potential.
The State Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy Principal Secretary (PS), Prof. Micheni Ntiba said that the programme will further expand from the second year to reach a maximum of fifteen counties which are Tharaka Nithi, Kisii, Kisumu, Siaya, Busia, Embu, Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado.
The PS who was speaking at his office on Thursday during the signing of the MOU stated that ABDP is a programme aiming at increasing incomes, food security and nutritional status of poor rural households involved in aquaculture ventures.
“The ABDP aims at using both public and private sector channels to strengthen the aquaculture value chains with whole-community initiatives to promote good nutrition and food security, environmental sustainability and adaptation to climate change within the counties,” Prof. Ntiba emphasised.
The PS further added that the programme will support the small-scale fish production base for existing and new producers, increase the volume and value of fish and fish products produced and sold by giving opportunities to men, women and youth, by promoting viable enterprises for production and value-addition within the communities.
Prof. Ntiba anticipated that the expected number of beneficiaries in each county will be 1,800 people and beneficiary farmers would include 50 percent men, 30 percent women and 20 percent youth .
“I acknowledge the steps the counties have taken in the adoption of ABDP activities such as the formation and ratification of the County Programme Coordination Committee (CPCC), County Programme Implementation Team (CPIT) and the appointment of the County Programme Coordinator,” Prof. Ntiba commended
The PS added that the success on implementation of the programme activities will reflect in the respective counties and overflow to the rest of the Country hence meeting target two of The Big Four Agenda 2017- 2022 of enhancing food security and improving nutritional well-being of the communities.
The Sustainable Development for all- Kenya (SDFA), Programme Coordinator, Sammy Macaria said that they hope to reach out to all players involved in the production and non- production activities along the value chain.
Macaria added that ABDP will enhance their resources with provision of a double- cabin vehicle and motorbikes to strengthen the extension services within the counties as well as work with other organisations such as Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), NADC Sagana among others who will support various aspects of the programme activities.
The Meru Governor, Kiraitu Murungi, said the government needs to establish a fish commission to promote the fish marketing processes.
“The government should also invest in farmers so that they know where to deliver their fish as well as partner with other countries in order to create a huge market locally and internationally, ” he said
By Nancy Marende/ Pauline Okeng’a