The government has announced its plan to inaugurate fish landing sites and markets along the coastline to provide cooling storage systems, handling and fish processing for value addition.
The Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs, Salim Mvurya said that his ministry, in collaboration with the county governments, has identified several landing sites along the coastline to ensure fishermen fully partake in basic value addition.
In this regard, the CS invited the private sector to collaborate on the establishment of the cooling storage systems and markets to support fishermen.
Speaking during the induction of County Executive Committee Members (CECM) and County Chief Officers in charge of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries from the 47 counties at the Sarova Whitesands beach resort, Mvurya noted that the Blue Space presents numerous opportunities geared towards the gains of increased food production and income whilst assuring food security.
The induction program aims at appraising the CECMs and Chief Officers on the key and emerging issues in the agricultural sector as well as roles for enhanced service delivery across the 47 counties.
The workshop emphasized on the need of the county officers to prioritize projects and programs that promote sustainable blue economy and agricultural practices that safeguard the environment for the benefit of the present and the future generations.
Mvurya revealed that his ministry has acquired three medium level boats at a cost of Sh.60 million which will be distributed to fishermen in the coastal counties to facilitate their fishing in the deep sea.
“We invite the private sector to collaborate in the value addition sensitization to support the fishermen and help grow the Beach Management Units (BMU) into cooperatives to manage more assets and capital”, said Mvurya.
“We take cognizance that our fishermen are already organized in BMUs, our target is now to institute them into SACCOS and cooperatives to enable them to seek financial support from money lending institutions,” he added.
The CS also presided over the launch of a World Bank funded project, National Agricultural Value Chain Development Project (NAVCDP) worth Sh 3.125 billion.
The project will be implemented over the next five years in the 47 counties and aims at increasing market participation and value addition for target farmers in select value chains and project areas.
The Chairman of the Blue Economy Issa Timamy who is also Lamu County Governor said that despite the huge potential of the sector, there is still a low level of awareness of its economic potential among county governments which remains largely untapped.
“There has been weak institutional frameworks and coordination, a significant skills gap, lack of financial resources and quality data to effectively address the issues affecting the sector and truly optimizing the many blue economy sectors,” said Timamy.
The meeting’s resolutions include review b State Department for Blue Economy and Fisheries and Council of Governors of the Kenya Marine, Fisheries and Socio- Economic Development (KEMFSED) project and Aquaculture Business Development Program to improve its efficiency and effectiveness as well as align the national and county government priorities.
Another resolution is the establishment by the Council of Governors through the county governments of a dedicated standalone directorate for the blue economy sector to support the implementation of blue economy initiatives and activities.
County governments should also hasten the transfer of Sector Development Program Funds from the County Revenue Fund Accounts to the Special Purpose Accounts and subsequently to Operational Accounts. This is to ensure there are no delays in implementing the programs and enhance efficiency.
The resolutions also indicate that the national and county governments commit to fully implement the sector laws, policies and strategies and to improve access to irrigation, agriculture mechanization to enhance affordable and reliable access to credit for farmers.
By Fatuma Said