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State Moves to Commercial Fishing Farming

The country targets to increase fish production in the country from the current 3,000 metric tonnes to over 100,000 metric tonnes in the next one year through promotion of commercialized aquaculture.

This follows financial support of up to Sh15 billion from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) designed to promote commercial production of fish in potential counties in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner in 15 target counties.

Principal Secretary, State Department Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy Prof Micheni Ntiba, while speaking in Kisumu today said fishing on the natural water ecosystem is increasingly becoming unsustainable.

He said this was the reason the government is now focusing on encouraging fish farmers to venture into aquaculture for job creation, food security and nutritional requirements.

He said the Government is also setting up a state of the art mariculture institute in Kwale County to boost fish production through production of quality fingerlings.

The PS said while an aquaculture project started under the Economic Stimulus Package (ESP) in 2009 collapsed, the current initiative seeks to revive it.

“The country’s fish production then had grown from a meagre 2,000 metric tonnes to 70,000 metric tonnes through aquaculture but has since dropped to 3,000 tonnes but which we intend to move to over 100,000 tonnes metric tonnes in a year,” he added.

The PS said IFAD was funding the current project through the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP) in 15 counties and 180 sub counties across the country.

Prof. Ntiba urged fisheries officials in the Ministry to encourage farmers to develop commercial farming as opposed to subsistence fish farming for higher returns.

“Let’s start commercialization of aquaculture and move away from encouraging subsistence farming,” he said.

The PS said nine counties that were yet to develop and sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ABDP needed to do so in the next two weeks in order to benefit from the funding.

These counties include Embu, Tharaka Nithi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu, Busia, Siaya, Kisii, and Kisumu.

Six counties already implementing the programme include Kakamega, Migori, Homabay, Nyeri, Kirinyanga and Meru.

He said in the current 2020-2021, the ABDP received a budget of Sh539 million from the Government with externally mobilized resources giving Sh1.27 billion.

The PS later signed performance contracting with programmes’s coordinator Mr. Sammy Macaria, at the meeting attended by county executive members (CEC’s) from respective counties and fisheries officials.

By George Kaiga

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