By Nicholas Waitathu
Nairobi; Kenya; Several private sector companies are reaping big from the Sh22 billion economic stimulus package availed by Treasury to wheel the economy. The fisheries sub sector, which was allocated Sh1.12 billion to promote fish farming in the country, has seen firms reap huge benefits in supplying materials to the sector.
According to Fisheries Secretary Prof Charles Ngugi, the country was producing was only 1000 tonnes out of fishponds when the idea was mooted. By the end of last year, production had gone up by almost 2,000 per cent to reach 20,000 tonnes. “More important about the programme is the engagement of the private sector players mainly those who manufacturers of dam liners and greenhouses,” he said.
Ngugi said the State under the programme planned to set up 28,000 fishponds across the country. By end of 2012, about 50,000 fish ponds had been set up in various parts of the country enabling farmers to earn more income.
The money allocated was to be used to train farmers on fish farming, provide the necessary infrastructure needed to set up the structures such as dam liners and buying fingerlings. But the demand of the necessary materials needed to put up the fish ponds attracted the attention of the private sector and mostly manufacturers of dam liners. “The beauty of the programme is that we have been able to contribute to efforts of food security in the country. Majority of Kenyans are now including fish in their diet, which is a departure from the past scenario where fish was only common in some regions,” he said last week in an interview.
One such private company is the Greener Earth Technologies. They deal in drip irrigation pipes, fittings accessories, dam liners, and greenhouses. David Mathai, GET director says the firm has supplied almost 80 per cent of the dam liners used to set up the fishponds in the country. “We have traded dam liners to over 40,000 farmers accounting to over 80 per cent who are now producing fish in various part of the country,” he said.
He said dam liners are sold to farmers in square metres, where each is today costing Sh180, which is the lowest price in the local market as big boys are selling a single square metre at over Sh250.
The Company has also introduced the backyard fishpond made from timber where a farmer develops a timber container to place the dam liner inside. “This makes it easy for those with small pieces of land and are likely to move to other area,” Mathai explained.
The firm has also been contracted by the National Irrigation Board to construct greenhouses in various parts of the country. In Eastern province, it has set up 80 low-cost-greenhouses. Most of greenhouses being set up across the country measures 8x15 metres.
The firm charges farmers Sh100,000 compared to Sh241,000 charged by other companies. The firm plans to start local manufacturing accessories used in setting up greenhouses and fishponds.