Fish farmers from the four sub counties implementing Aquaculture Business Development Project, converged at the Kisumu Hotel to review the progress and the adjustments required to improve aquaculture in the region.
The meeting brought on board aquaculture stakeholders across the divide to review the current situation and existing challenges, identify the gaps in the implementation of ABDP in order to coordinate, harmonize and optimize synergies for higher returns in aquaculture.
Speaking during the official opening of the workshop, the County Executive Member for Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Gilchrist Okuom said aquaculture existed even before ESP but ABDP has offered another opportunity to explore more openings that come with the project.
He reiterated that the review was key in evaluating the progress and how to mitigate the losses realized. He cited one of the progress made was receiving a vehicle for the project a month ago and the anticipated motor bikes for the extension officers that will spearhead extension services to the farmers on the ground.
Challenging the farmers on the importance of keeping records on harvest and giving feedback, he explained that such data is vital in capturing the level of production, ascertaining the impact on livelihoods and it can also be used as a bargaining power during budget allocation.
“Without statistics we cannot upgrade. Right feedback makes planning easier and more partners will be interested to invest along the value chain. Open up to statistics to inform on production level and the requirements needed. With more people on board, cost of production will be low,” said Mr. Okuom.
The farmers were urged not to look at fish farming as a stand-alone project but instead find out how they can integrate fish farming with kitchen gardening, poultry keeping among other profitable activities.
On his part, the County Programme Coordinator, Mr. Kenneth Luga said the review was critical in ensuring food security, increase on income and the nutritional value among the poor rural.
He further explained the that four dams that suffered loss due to floods were each restocked with 22,000 fingerlings to bring them back to production after rapid assessment survey was done.
Moving forward, he said plans to construct ponds in two schools was underway at Rabuor primary school in Nyando and Pap Lisana school in Nyakach, which met the criteria of space and having at least 1,000 pupils. This will help improve their nutrition starters which they can replicate at home.
The programme will also cater for advocacy workshop and fish field day to be held in Kisumu west sub county among other plans of purchasing some critical equipment.
The Sub County fisheries officer, Mr. Joseph Amoke implored on the farmers to stop in breeding that results into poor quality fingerlings. He advised them to buy quality fingerlings and feeds from certified dealers for higher returns.
The representative for the Association of Aquaculture Kisumu, Mr. Njagi, said the review was significant for stakeholders to know if they are meeting the expectations of the program on achieving food security. He called on the farmers to embrace the modern technologies in fish farming
Mr. Aduma one of the fish farmers from Nyahera who admitted that they were on the right track said it was a learning session that requires full involvement of the officers and the farmers in order to take it as a business.
The farmers were also treated to presentations by the sub county fisheries officers on progress reports from the four implementing sub counties: Nyakach, Muhoroni, Nyando and Kisumu west.
Also, present were the county officers from the Fisheries directorate.
By: Emily Mikwa