State department of Fisheries Aquaculture and Blue EconomyFish farming among small holder farmers has received a major boost after the Chief Administration Secretary (CAS) from the State Department for Fisheries, (SDFA & BE), Mr. Lawrence Omuhaka today flagged off 9 vehicles that will be used to support the ABDP outreach activities and aquaculture extension services to the fisherfolk at the Kisumu Fisheries Offices.
The nine vehicles handed over to Kisumu, Siaya, Kisii, Taraka nithi, Busia, Embu, Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado are the second batch after the first batch of six given to Migori, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Nyeri, Kirinyaga and Meru totaling to 15 vehicles for the fifteen ABDP implementing counties.
This initiative dubbed Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP) targets 15 Counties of which Kisumu County is part, it focuses on promoting fish consumption and value addition to advance the nutritional status and food security among the wider communities, increase the number of small holder farmers and link them to the market, facilitate training of county extension officers and support formulation of regulations and policies on fish farming.
Speaking at the event the CAS, Mr. Lawrence Omuhaka who represented the Cabinet Secretary Hon. Peter Munya EBS stated that fisheries sector is at the center of the big four agenda, and the vision 2030 which aims to achieve 100% food and nutrition security in the country.
He also noted the importance of developing policies as priority in regulating fishing in the water sources, which he said is on course.
The CAS, reiterated that Kisumu County now has a world class laboratory that will serve the Western region in assessing the quality of fish fit for human consumption.
Mr. Omuhaka affirmed to the small holder farmers that there is a ready market for their fish where 68 tons of fish is required per month for export after processing.
The Principal Secretary SDF&BE, Dr Francis Owino CBS on his part applauded the host, Kisumu county for their commitment to seamless implementation of the program following the assessment done in the last two weeks.
He asked the programme implementing counties to ensure the allocated resources aligned to the ABDP annual work plan and budget are utilized to the benefit of aquaculture farmers and other value chain.
Citing the challenges, he explained that the programme is set to address two major challenges concerning fish feeds and fingerlings.
“the program will ensure availability, accessibility and affordability of feeds and the identified farmers will get fingerlings,” he said.
Dr. Owino also stated that revolutionizing aquaculture will not only improve the nutritional status of the rural poor but will also provide income to the small holder farmers in the region.
On his part, the National Programme Coordinator, ABDP, Mr. Sammy Macaria said the demand for fish currently in the country is at 600,000 tons while the production is at 150,000 tons with a deficit of 450,000 tons, therefore the programme seeks to support land-based fish farming where each identified farmer in the programme is expected to produce one ton per year to meet the deficit.
He appealed to farmers to not to over rely on capture fisheries but explore pond fishing and develop the value chain.
“ABDP is taking over from Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) and it seeks to rehabilitate abandoned ponds under ESP and recruit new farmers to keep fish.” Said Mr. Macaria.
The County Executive Member for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, who is also the Programme Steering Committee member representing the Western Region, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom thanked National Government, IFAD and implementing counties promising commitment to revitalize fisheries in the region.
“As good ambassadors in this region, we will not only depend on fish for nutritional value but also for wealth creation and for the economic empowerment. We focus to move from capture fisheries to offshore fish farming. We have been hunters and gatherers of fish but we now want to farm fish since it is a game changer,” said Mr. Okuom.
The event was graced by officers from State department of Fisheries Aquaculture and Blue Economy, IFAD, Kisumu West Sub–County Commissioner, a host of County Executives, Chief Officers, Project coordinators from the nine implementing counties among other invited guests.
By Emily Mikwa