Fish farming in Kisumu today received a shot in the arm after receiving farm input materials and equipment for extension services courtesy of the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP) in an event held at Ahero Vocational Training Center, in Nyando Sub County.
The farm input materials for Nyando sub county included: 31 pond liners, 57 predator nets and 57 cover nets while the extension services equipment’s were five motor bikes and three lap tops which were distributed across the four sub counties implementing the Programme namely: Nyando, Nyakach, Muhoroni and Kisumu West.
These come as part of solutions to challenges encountered by farmers during production. The cover nets and predator will keep the predators at bay, the pond liners will to help in water retention, the motor bikes will aid the movement of extension officers on the ground and the laptops will assist in giving real time data.
While presiding over the official distribution of the farmers input materials and equipment for extension services, the Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry Of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives Mr. Lawrence Omuhaka congratulated Kisumu for their greate potential hence their identification as one of the implementing counties among other fourteen.
Being part of the Big four agenda, he said the Ministry is working towards spurring economic transformation and fast-tracking the realization of Vision 2030 through partnership with IFAD on Agribusiness program that targets the rural poor households of the wider community.
He reiterated that the Fisheries sector is currently offering opportunities to a million employees either directly or indirectly along the fish value chains.
Noting the significant gap between the projected demand and production, he said promotion of aquaculture to counter capture fisheries is key in meeting the projected demand of 360,000 tons by 2025.
He implored on farmers to transform from business as usual to fish farming as a business, to meet production of one ton of fish per farmer annually.
Mr. Omuhaka called on farmers to form cooperatives that will help them sell their fish citing that the processing factory recently launched in Kakamega will provide a ready market.
He also pledged to put up a fish research institute in Kisumu that will serve the Lake Region Economic Bloc, comprising of fourteen Counties.
The Principal Secretary for the state department of fisheries ,Aquaculture and blue economy Dr. Francis Owino commended the level of partnership with Kisumu County. He however warned farmers not to depend only on Lake Victoria that is already depleted and has no elasticity.
With the steady population increase against the growing demand for fish, he said aquaculture is the way to go.
The Kisumu Deputy Governor Dr. Mathew Owili on his part commended the partners for the cordial working relations and for the support given towards improving the livelihood of the people of Kisumu.
He outlined some of the benefits the county has reaped from the ABDP which included identification and support of 422 fish farmers, provision of a vehicle, formation of 28 small holder farming groups, stocking of community dams with 22,000 fingerlings, trainings among others in addition to the farmers input materials and extension services equipment being issued today.
Dr. Owili also challenged the farmers to think in terms of agribusiness not social farming. He also requested the Ministry to consider reviving the cooling plant at Ogal beach that has had a technical hitch to bring it back to operations.
According to the Programme Coordinator Mr. Sammy Macaria, advised that proper feeding and extension services will give a good yield of fish to the farmers. He stated that the program will also train youths to improve their business through ILO.
The CEC for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom lauded the ABDP project for rejuvenating aquaculture which dwindled after the ESP programme noting that it ensured re- invigoration of the people from capture fisheries to fish farming.
He further acknowledged that challenges of availability quality fingerlings and feeds can be resolved through partnerships.
The event was graced by the area MCA, County top officers and officials from the line department. Sub County Administrators, Deputy county commissioners, Ward Administrators, area Chiefs, investors and farmers.
By: Emily Mikwa