Siaya launches initiative to kill fish shortage

Monday, May 17th, 2021 00:00 |
Fish farming. Photo/File

The government has launched an aggressive programme of scaling up aquaculture in Siaya county in a bid to reduce poverty, increase nutrition and enhance food security.

According to Agriculture Executive Elizabeth Odhiambo, the programme dubbed Aquaculture, Business Development is expected to significantly address fish deficit. It targets 1,647 fish farmers and 312 youth.

Odhiambo noted that fish, the community’s staple food, has dwindled drastically.

Consequently, the government has put in place a raft of stringent measures to rein in overfishing. 

“There are no bountiful fish stocks in many marketplaces and a few that are available are expensive and small,” Odhiambo said. 

“There is a shortage of fish production, in 2020 alone, we did only 28,000 metric tonnes and the change in lifestyle and the need for more white meat has raised demands for fish thus raising the deficit.” 

However, the eight-year project that targets 15 counties seeks to ensure Siaya attains its target of having 43 fishing groups. 

Speaking during the project launch at Agunja farm in Uria Village, Ugunja sub-county at the weekend, Odhiambo noted that assessment has been done and farmers identified in the 19 wards. 

It has also been established that certain groups require pond liners, and predator kits while others have their ponds projects running and only need to be capacity built.

Odhiambo was accompanied by Agriculture Chief Officer Charles Siso, Lands Executive George Rubik and Fisheries Director Joseph Bolo. 

She said the existing ponds initiated under the Economic Stimulus Package have remained scientific with little impact to the lives of local fish farmers.

She, however, noted that the unavailability of fish feeds has hindered efforts to breed more fish. 

“Out of the 3,000 fish farmers that were under the Economic Stimulus package, only 1,200 are active.

We seek to strengthen the existing ones and revive the dormant since it is the inputs and fingerlings that posed a challenge to them,” said Odhiambo.

She added: “So far, we have 17 fingerling producers, feed millers and we also intend to revive the dormant millers that were initiated under the Western Driven Flood Mitigation Programme through Private Public Partnerships.”

According to the project appraisal document, the farmers will be linked to factories that will issue them with batch number to enable them monitor fish maturity and progress.

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