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State rolls out Sh1b fish farming project

By | November 30th 2009

By Standard Correspondent

The Government has launched fish farming projects in the country at a cost of more than Sh1 billion.

The move is expected to create about 120,000 new jobs.

The Ministry of Fisheries Development last week launched the Sh1.12 billion project which see the construction of 200 fish ponds in 140 constituencies.

Funded by the State-sponsored Economic Stimulus Programme, each of the constituencies will receive Sh8 million for ponds.

Fisheries Minister Paul Otuoma, launched the first of 20 pilot fish ponds in Gatundu South on Thursday.

He said the projects is one the strategies the government has adopted to reduce poverty.

Traditional fish sources, he said, are no longer dependable to meet the rising demand of fish in the country. Official statistics show that in 1999, the country had a population of 1.2 million tonnes of Nile Perch, which has now dwindled to a mere

300 tonnes.

"This shows that there is less fish in local waters," he said.

Dr Otuoma encouraged farmers around the country to engage in fish farming, which takes little space on their farms but has high financial returns, while providing nutrition to Kenyans.

The fish farming project is part of the Government’s Sh22 billion economic stimulus package that will soon be injected in various sectors in the country in an effort to revive the economy.

Alternative growth sector

Last June, Finance Minister Uhuru presented a budget in Parliament against a backdrop of global and national economic challenges, which have resulted in a slowing down of the economy to 1.7 per cent this year compared to the 7.1 per cent at the end of 2007.

Substantial decline of agricultural production and slow down of economic activity in the key growth sectors of tourism and construction have demanded deliberate action by the Government to salvage the situation and hence the stimulus.

The Fisheries ministry has taken the lead in the implementation of the project while participants, associated households and cluster groups will be co-implementers.

District fisheries officers will roll out the project implementation at the grassroot level and are charged with the training of participants.

Labour for pond construction will be sourced from local youth. The Ministry will contract private fish hatcheries to supply quality fingerlings.

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