Pweza women group has appealed to both county and national governments to help them boost their fishing gears so that they can effectively compete for the scarce marine resource.
The group, which comprises 37 women engaged in fishing, was established in 2017 and got a donation of a fishing boat from their area MCA, Gilbert Peru in 2018 but due to lack of adequate fishing tools, they are unable to match their male counterparts.
Their secretary, Halima Mbaruk said for the past two years, the members have not been able to enjoy the fruits of their hard work because their small catch is used to pay Kilifi County Government Mbegu Fund loan they took to buy a fishing net.
Mbaruk added that currently, they are at low season because of strong ocean winds which makes their small boat unable to go deep sea where the good catch is located.
“Our small vessel is not allowed to go to the deep seas so at this low season, we cannot reach the fish. We ask the two levels of governments and donors to help us with a larger vessel that can at least reach far where the fish are located. Right now, we are approaching the third month without a good catch,” said Mbaruk when speaking to the media on Wednesday.
The group’s treasurer Jane Nzaro said during the peak season in the month of April to July, they could make up to Sh4,000 per day but at this low season, they hardly raise Sh1000 and even incur losses of labour and fuel.
She said the group’s progress could be boosted through donation of more resources so that they could get enough catch of fish to repay their loan monthly instalment without difficulty and remain with some money to sustain its large number of memberships.
“We were grateful after we got this boat although it does not generate good income. If we can get more funding, we will continue to elevate ourselves as women,” Nzaro said.
“We are pleading for larger, bigger vessels because our current membership is higher and the income we raise is not enough. We also have plans for a freezer that will enable us to store our fish before marketing,” said Grace Kahindi, a member of the group.
Kahindi added that the members are currently struggling to cater for their families’ needs through other means and were even forced to buy fish from other fishers to sell to their customers.
The members revealed that their aim is to thrive in fishing and become inspiration to other women in Kilifi County.
By Jackson Msanzu and Harrison Yeri