BY: Emily Mikwa
Residents of Kisumu County today joined the rest of the world in celebrating the world fisheries day at Kabong’o Farm in Awasi/ Onjiko Ward, Nyando Sub County.
The event observed annually, every 21st November, highlighted the theme Investing in social protection to secure equitable blue transformation in the fisheries sector.
The day seeks to draw attention to over fishing, habitat destruction among other serious threats to the sustainability of the marine resources. It also focuses on changing the way the world manages global fisheries to ensure a healthy marine ecosystem.
The celebrations brought on board the County Government, Agencies and partners within the fisheries sectors such as KEMFRI, LBDA, AAK, BMUs, Nepawa waves Ltd, Aquarech Ltd, Aqua Barn and Captain Feeds among others.
Speaking while presiding over the event, The CEC Agriculture, Irrigation, Livestock and Fisheries Mr. Gilchrist Okuom noted the stride made in the last five years by the fishing directorate. He thanked the team for re-invigorating the sector and making it vibrant.
Though with recent set back over massive death of the cage fish, he urged the farmers not to give up but instead bring on board youths and women to take part in fish farming as a source of livelihood.
Concerning the irrigation project in the location, he called on farmers to make use of the water to produce more fish and horticulture. He said he envisages an active aqua park in the locality that will boost food security in the region.
The CECM, Challenged the Aquaculture Association of Kenya (AAK) to appoint those with expertise and professionalism in fish farming so as to strengthen the cooperative. He further added that such organization will enable the farmers to share experiences and ideas that will boost their productions.
He also underscored the gains made, having a 3.6billion project; centre of excellence that is to be put up on a 400acre piece of land at Kabonyo Kanyagwal, thanking the PS Dr Francis Owino and Dr. Ntiba for fast tracking the same. Mr. Okuom said the project will be the third in Kenya after Sagana and Mombasa centres of excellence.
The centre he said would provide research skills, courses to empower fish farmers, and bringing back the depleted tilapia species back to the lake. He challenged the farmers to make use of such opportunities to expand fish production and horticulture.
The area DCC, Mr. Julius Kavita, called on the farmers to aggressively carry out the fish farming that will support their livelihood. He promised to deal decisively with matters insecurity such that no farmer suffers a set back in production as a result of theft.
The Chief Officer livestock and Fisheries, Madam Rosemary Raluoch on her part challenged the stakeholders to support the level one farmer with social protection mechanisms and interventions that will boost their production.
She called on stakeholders such as AAK, the Department of Gender and those who receive the Hustler funds to consider supporting the level one farmer so that the challenges in the uptake of new technology in farming does not slow down.
The Chief Officer thanked the host, Eng. Olum for the impressive work he has done on his farm and challenged the people to add more fish ponds in the free space in order to have an aqua park in the area by next year.
According to the County Director for Fisheries, Madam Susan Adhiambo, the directorate aims at transforming the Blue Economy through new technologies that will not only create job opportunities for the people but also boost food security in the area.
She called on farmers to form strong cooperatives that will represent the farmers needs in various forums.
The Director further outlined some of the strides the directorate has made in terms of collaborating with FAO to implement new methodologies in fish farming in schools, organizing the BMU networks using the BMU Act, and developing Wavuvi Cooperative Society.
The ABDP County Program Coordinator, Mr. Kenneth Luga, said the Aquaculture Business Development Program focuses on fish as a source of income, food and employment hence encouraging farmers to invest in aquaculture.
The program that targets small holder aquaculture groups also carries out capacity building to farmers on gender, youth and nutrition, provides farm inputs and equipment such as pond liners and predator nets to increase fish production through farmers.
The event was also marked with exhibitions, showcasing of different technologies in fish and fingerlings production, formulation of fish feeds and value addition on fish products.