Kenya plans steps to raise fish production
Kenya's ministry of agriculture on Wednesday announced plans to raise fish production.
Peter Munya, cabinet secretary at the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Co-operatives, said that through the Aquaculture Business Development Program, the government plans to increase fish production for domestic consumption and export.
"The current fish per capita is low in the country and we hope the program will help increase it to the required levels," Munya told journalists in Nairobi.
Munya blamed low output on inadequate extension services for fisheries and aquaculture.
He put the country's demand for fish at 600,000 metric tons, far exceeding the current output of only 150,000 metric tons.
The government has started providing farmers with good quality fish feed and seeds, offering capacity-building in fish processing and value addition, and strengthening linkages between producers and market as well as other actors across the value chain, Munya said.
However, he said, there are still issues that need to be addressed to improve efficiency and profitability of smallholder farmers.
Munya said Kenya aspires to raise the current per capita fish consumption from 4.5 kg a year to over 10 kg a year by 2030.
He said the government has, in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), taken intervention measures to address challenges in the sub-sector, including looking for outside markets as opposed to domestic market.
"The ministry is at the center of the national goals given the important role it continually plays in achieving the food and nutritional security in the country," Munya said.
Esther Kasalu-Coffin, IFAD country director and head east African and Indian Ocean hub, said the 15.19 billion shilling (143.3 million U.S. dollars) program will directly benefit 35,500 households, including 5,500 young people.
She noted that besides promoting aquaculture in the country, the program is also sensitizing communities that originally did not eat fish to eat fish with improved recipes for improved nutrition.
The aquaculture sub-sector supports over 60,000 people directly, as fishermen, and over 73,000 fish farmers with close to 70,000 fish ponds in the country. (Xinhua)