The government will introduce fish farming along the Kerio Valley as part of efforts to enhance food security and household incomes in the region.
Agriculture Chief Administrative Secretary (CAS) Linah Kilimo said the project, to be rolled out in 35 other counties, is part of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s 'Big Four Agenda' on Food Security while also ensuring nutrition security and promoting the Blue Economy.
Kilimo said the government plans to use aquaponics technology, which has proved efficient in fish farming in other countries.
“With this technology which requires very little space, only 10 farmers in a county like Elgeyo Marakwet can produce what the whole country produces in a year. This is already happening in Nyeri County,” she added.
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Aquaponics is a form of agriculture that combines raising fish in tanks with soil-less plant culture. In aquaponics, the nutrient-rich water from raising fish provides natural fertiliser for the plants and the plants help to purify the water for the fish.
Kilimo said food insecurity continues to put many families at the risk of starvation, adding that fish farming could help reverse the problem.
“Kerio Valley is suitable for various types of fish including tilapia, which is the most common in Kenya. The region has many streams and rivers, which can be diverted for fish farming through the construction of fishponds and dams,” she added.
“Fish consumption is also highly nutritious; we encourage people to embrace healthy eating habits and this is only achievable if we reared the fish in plenty,” said Kilimo.
She encouraged the residents to embrace fish farming as it was one of farming practices that is not affected by drought and many other challenges that come with crop farming.
The CAS said aquaculture educational meetings should be organised in Kerio Valley besides making fish feeds available for those who would embrace fish farming.
“The project, to be initiated in secondary schools in targeted counties, will go a long way in helping the students replicate and popularise fish consumption in their homes,” said Kilimo.