Kenya has launched the national African Women Fish Processors and Traders Network Chapter (AWFISHNET) during a fisheries workshop that was attended by 32 women drawn from more than 25 counties.
This is an initiative supported by the African Union- Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and funded by the European Union.
Speaking during the official launch in Nairobi, Director of fisheries and agriculture at the State department of fisheries, Rodrick Kundu said the establishment of the women network Kenya chapter will help women in the country link up with other women for benchmarking and opportunities.
Kundu encouraged and called upon women to venture deeper into fish farming for a better future. He said the government, apart from doing reforms in the fisheries is collaborating with other partners to invest in the sector.
‘’We are implementing an aquaculture program financed by International Fund for Agricultural Development in conjunction with the Kenyan government to the tune of sh14 billion and sub-counties in Central and Western Kenya,’’ he said.
He described the launch of the African women's fish processors, traders’ network as a gamechanger in the agricultural sector.
‘’We want to transition from the subsistence fish farming to commercial aquaculture,’’ noted Kundu.
African Union- Inter African Bureau for Animal Resources acting Director, Dr Nick Nwankpa in a statement thanked the Kenyan government for accepting to support women in the fisheries and aquaculture sector organise into a national network as among the mechanisms for fostering equity and sustainability within Africa’s fish sector.
‘’Our action today follows the outcomes of the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Shared Prosperity and Improved Livelihoods,’’ he said
He called upon the sectors development partners and all those of goodwill to support the noble cause.
Janet Chedutum, a fish farmer from Kapenguria in West Pokot expressed her happiness on the launch of the network, looking forward to learning more from her fellow women in the sector.
She noted that it is easy to move forward and together while in a group compared to an individual.
‘’We anticipate that the government will also help us get a continental or a global market so that we are able to benefit from this commercial aquaculture,’’ said Chedutum.
The network is envisaged to provide a platform for women fish processors and traders in the continent to collaborate and cooperate; Share best practices, experiences, technologies and learning together.
The women will advocate for issues affecting their activities and facilitate enabling policy environment to enhance their role in the fisheries sector in the continent and strengthen their role as small-medium enterprises hence expanding their market and marketing opportunities, resulting in improved intra-regional African fish trade that contributes to food security and nutrition.