Fish imports will go on to cover the deficit, says PS

Principal Secretary in the State Department of Fisheries Prof Micheni Ntiba. [Photo: Standard]
Importation of fish will not be stopped because there is a huge deficit, the Government has said.

Agriculture and Fisheries Principal Secretary Micheni Ntiba (pictured) said national demand for fish stands at 500,000 tonnes a year, while local production is only 140,000 tonnes.

He said although measures were in place to improve aquaculture, the huge deficit could not be wished away as Kenyans still require the fish.

The official told concerned agencies to ensure only quality fish got into the country. “We have the Kenya Bureau of Standards, the Department of Public Health and other agencies at our ports of entry who should work together to ensure no contraband goods are allowed in, as recently seen with sugar and rice,” Prof Ntiba said.

He said the safety of Kenyans was paramount and any trader found bringing in sub-standard commodities should be prosecuted and the goods destroyed.

Ntiba was responding to journalists' questions after he presided over the 33rd graduation ceremony at the Animal Health and Industry Training Institute, Ndomba, in Kirinyaga County.

The PS urged local farmers to step up fish production.

Ntiba said when the Economic Stimulus Programme was started in 2009, farmers were only producing 2,000 tonnes of fish.

“But after the programme was initiated we were able to increase fish production to 60,000 tonnes, only for the momentum to slow down after devolution came in 2013,” he said.

The PS said the Government had received Sh14 billion from International Fund for Agricultural Development to boost the fish sector.

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Importation of fishGovernmentAgriculture and Fisheries Principal Secretary Micheni NtibaDepartment of Public HealthKenya Bureau of StandardsKenyansAnimal Health and Industry Training InstituteK