By EVELYN KWAMBOKA
Kenya has signed a Sh382 million trilateral co-operation agreement aimed at economic empowerment.
Signing the deal on behalf of the country Thursday, Prime Minister Raila Odinga said the deal would uplift the living standards of those living in the Lake Victoria basin.
“The agreement signed today identifies aquaculture (fish farming) as the pioneering area of focus which should lead to some quick wins,” he said. The Premiere said the Government had emphasis on fish farming to sustain the ever-growing demand for the commodity, while conserving the biodiversity of the overexploited lake.
During the ceremony at Ramogi Institute of Advanced Technology, Germany’s Economic Cooperation and Development Minister Dirk Niebel and Israel’s Foreign Affairs of the State Deputy Minister Danny Ayalon also signed the deal on behalf of their governments.
In the deal that is currently in phase one that is to last up to 2014, Germany has given Sh134 million, and Israel Sh248 million.
Raila noted the increasing demand for fish has led to excessive pressure on existing water bodies in areas like Lake Victoria where Nile Perch stocks have reduced in the recent years.
“The country’s aquaculture potential stands at 1.4 billion hectares, with the capacity to produce 11 million tons of fish that is worth over Sh50 billion annually,” he said.
Niebel said the cooperation was meant to make the fishing industry sustainable and effective in helping residents earn a living.
He said Kenya is a driving force to the region’s economic development, urging locals to diversify by carrying out fish farming in ponds.
On his part, Ayalon said the cooperation will see the country move from a ‘recipient nation to a donor’.
He said Israel is giving supporting the fishing project in Kisumu on humanitarian grounds.