Residents of Kisumu County yesterday joined the rest of the nation in marking the 2021 national aquaculture day celebrated annually every 20th of May.
The event held at Kambare Farm- Mutwala in Muhoroni sub county was presided over by the Deputy County Commissioner, Mr. Benedict Munywoki, accompanied by the CEC Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, Mr. Gilchrist Okuom while the national event was held in Busia County.
This year’s theme “Fish for all, all for fish, leaving no one behind” focused on two issues, first, fish for all is a call upon each individual to embrace fish eating given the health benefits of fish consumption and increase the per capita fish consumption to 20kgs/person/year by the year 2022.
Secondly, all for fish bringing all the fish value chain actors together to share knowledge, skills and best practices to boost fish production as a source of livelihood.
While giving his speech, the Deputy County Commissioner Mr. Benedict Munywoki who represented the County Commissioner, highlighted the fact that one of the goals of the Big Four Agenda is food and nutrition security for all Kenyans.
He further noted that the Ministry of Agriculture is key in driving the agenda through enhancing large-scale production, boosting smallholder productivity and reducing the cost of food thereby contributing to employment and wealth creation and above all a healthy nation.
Though the fisheries and aquaculture sub sector has been supporting about a million people directly and indirectly, working as fishers, fish farmers, traders, processors, suppliers and merchants of fishing accessories and employees with their dependents, there is a significant gap between the projected demand and production, which is expected to increase to 360,000 MT by 2025, resulting in a continuous decline in per capita average consumption and rising prices (3.5 kg/person/year compared to a global average of 16.3 kg/person/year).
To expedite aquaculture growth in Kenya, the government has shifted focus to promote commercialization of fish farming as opposed to subsistence farming through the launch of a large-scale aquaculture support Programme under the Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP) during the period 2009-2013 to promote smallholder aquaculture production through targeted support for input supply, fish production, post-harvest management and related activities achieving a rapid expansion in the sub sector.
currently, the government is in the process of procuring pond construction/rehabilitation materials (Liners, Bird nets, Predator Nets) to the smallholder fish farmers (Level 1 beneficiaries) with an objective of developing aquaculture production infrastructure and enhancing the production base in 15 implementing counties of which Kisumu is part, through the ABDP program co-founded by the national Government and IFAD
The CEC Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Gilchrist Okuom on his part, said the increasing population has created the demand for fish, calling on every one including youths to take up fish farming as a business to meet the deficit.
“The lake has outlived its elasticity and the productivity of fish has dwindled that we cannot get the catch we want. We need to change our mindset to become the regional hub for fish,” said Mr. Okuom.
On matters nutrition, he urged everyone to eat quality food that they produce for proper growth and development of the children. He noted that Kisumu produces fish but all the catch is sold out with families having none for food resulting to stunted growth and poor brain development among the people.
“If you can’t eat food as medicine, you will eat medicine as food,” said the CEC
The event was graced by a host of top county officials from the department of Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries, development partners among other invited guests.
By: Emily Mikwa