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State to establish insurance for fish farmers

The government has embarked on formulation of an insurance policy to safeguard fish farmers against losses.

This follows massive fish kills in Lake Victoria where cage farmers have lost over Sh. 1 billion.

Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary (CS) Salim Mvurya said through the policy, the government will engage insurance companies to develop packages for the fisher folk to ensure that they are compensated when such disasters occur.

The CS who visited some of the affected farmers at Asat beach in Seme Sub-County of Kisumu said the government will fast track the process as efforts to revive fish farming in the country gains momentum.

The government, he said was aware of the huge loss occasioned by the disaster adding that every effort shall be made to support the farmers restock the cages.

A multi-agency team, he said, has been constituted to investigate the cause of the fish kills and come up with recommendations on how to address the plight of the affected farmers.

The CS said the committee chaired by Fisheries Principal Secretary (PS) Dr. Francis Owino, was expected to table its findings in two weeks’ time to enable the ministry to come up with a way forward on the matter.

To assist the farmers, restock, the CS said his ministry will provide 500, 000 fingerlings to augment the efforts by the county government which has allocated Sh3 million towards the venture.

The Ministry, he added, was committed to building capacity for fish farmers in the area to scale up production.

This financial year he said the government has allocated funds to build modern fish landing sites at Wichlum beach in Siaya County and Ogal beach in Kisumu County.

The facilities which will be installed with cold storage facilities, he said will go a long way in assisting the farmers keep their produce as they look for markets.

Speaking during the same occasion, Kisumu Governor Prof. Anyang Nyong’o lauded the national government for the two projects and support to cage farmers in the area.

“This disaster which has affected 846 households has pushed us to rethink how we manage our fisheries. If we had coolers and storage facilities here this loss could have been averted,” he said.

The County Government, he added, has partnered with the Kenya Shipyards Limited (KSL) to manufacture glass fiber boats for fishermen in the area.

The partnership will see fishermen migrate from the traditional boats to the modern ones at a subsidized price to enhance their safety within the lake.

“According to data from the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC) 5, 400 fishermen from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania drown in the lake annually. This can be changed through the use of modern glass fiber boats which are safe,” he said.

By Chris Mahandara

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