IFAD distributes fishing equipment and motorcycles – Kenya News Agency
Aquaculturists in Migori County have benefited from pod liners and fishing nets, courtesy of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
According to the Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives, Mr. Lawrence Omuhaka, the donation will be used to boost fish production in the county.
Speaking at an event that brought together the national government, the county government and farmers, Omuhaka said the fishing gear will guide the food and nutrition goals of Vision 2030, which is part of the Big Four agenda. President Uhuru Kenyatta.
IFAD, in partnership with the national government, distributed 390 pods and 390 fishing nets to selected farmers in the region’s eight sub-counties.
Migori’s agricultural extension workers also received five motorcycles to facilitate their mobility when visiting aquaculturists.
IFAD also distributed three laptops to help collect, record and store information on pods, fish production and other necessary data that would help improve fish farm production in the county.
Omuhaka said the Aquaculture Business Development Program (ABDP) is supported by IFAD and the national government to economically guide Migori County and the nation as a whole in accordance with the dreams of Vision 2030 to achieve food security and nutrition.
The CAS pointed out that due to health concerns, many people have started to adopt a white meat diet that includes fish for healthy living.
He said Kenya’s demand for fish was increasing at a higher rate while the supply was drastically decreasing.
âBy 2021, the demand for fish in Kenya will be 3,360,000 metric tonnes. Victory Lake will never increase in size but the population will continue to grow. In order for us to meet demand, we need to transform aquaculture to meet local consumption and exports, âOmuhaka said.
At the same time, he explained that the government has put in place the necessary measures and initiatives in the agricultural sectors to ensure the development of the socio-economic status of the society by financing projects such as ABDP.
Omuhaka commended Migori County for demonstrating enormous potential in the agricultural sector, especially in aquaculture. He said the Aquaculture Business Development Program would directly support 23,700 small-scale aquaculturists who would be able to individually produce one tonne of fish per year.
The national program coordinator for ABDP, Mr. Sammy Macaria, urged farmers to invest in two peach pods in order to achieve the annual production of one ton. He said the Aquaculture Business Development Program would help young people get into aquaculture so that they can turn it into a business enterprise to improve their standard of living.
Macaria said aid distributed from fishing liners and nets would help reduce pre-harvest losses. He said the nets were designed in a special way that would prevent birds and other predictors of fish from feeding on fish.
The official further acknowledged that the distributed fishing nets and liners were 300 square meters and were capable of producing about half a ton of fish per year.
The Principal Secretary of the State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture and the Blue Economy, Dr Francis Owino, who also graced the occasion, said the government was in the process of developing regulations on cage culture by the end of September this year which aimed to regulate cage culture in the lake.
He said the aquaculture business development program would help alleviate the pressure of overfishing in Lake Victoria.
Migori Governor Zachary Okoth Obado praised the Aquaculture Business Development Program which aims to create sustainable development goals to ensure the county and the nation as a whole are food secure by 2030.
He, however, urged the national government and partners to invest in the formulation and production of animal feed as well, which he said was the agricultural sector’s biggest challenge.
In addition to Migori County, the Aquaculture Business Development Program will also be implemented in 15 counties in the West, Central, Nyanza and Rift Valley regions..
By Geoffrey Makokha