By NJIRAINI MUCHIRA and KENNETH KWAMA
Maurice Otieno, a fish farmer in Kakola, Nyando District is yet to come to terms with the damage inflicted on him by the raging floods.
It swept away his one-year investment worth close to Sh125,000 and carried with it fish that was ready for harvesting.
“It was a big investment for me. I used a lot of money to dig the pond and bought about 1,000 young fish, which I’ve been feeding for the past one year,” Otieno says.
“Before the floods, they had consumed close to 11 bags of food and each sack costs Sh1,000,” says Otieno.
That is not all for Otieno. The Sh125,000 was a loan from the Youth Enterprise Fund. As he is left with is the obligation to pay a loan whose project was washed away by flash floods.
Otieno is just one of the hundreds of fish farmers whose ambitions to try their hand at fish farming have evaporated. Estimates put the loss by farmers in Nyando alone at tens of millions.
The Government has been touting fish farming as a diversification strategy to branch out of the country’s traditional food chain.
The floods have not spared other parts of the country as the country’s climate mood swing alternates from severe drought to floods that that have now cut off roads, paralysing agricultural activities and disrupting transport.
This comes amid depressing projections by the Ministry of Planning that the economy will grow by a measly 3.5 to 4.5 per cent this financial year from last month’s forecast of 5.2 per cent.
The floods are literally washing away Kenya’s economy and could stunt the 3.5 to 4.5 per cent growth projections further — thereby dealing severe blow to Kenya’s quest to be a middle-income economy by 2030.