Seven counties in Western and Nyanza will benefit from a Sh14.9 billion aquaculture project aimed at boosting fish farming.
The project is being carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Implementation is underway in Kakamega, Busia, Homa Bay, Siaya, Migori, Kisumu and Kisii counties.
The initiative will see small-scale fish farmers from the selected counties supplied with essential materials for setting up fish ponds with quality fingerlings.
Farmers will also benefit from the services of aquaculture extension officers who have been dispatched to guide and train them on best practices.
Yesterday, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries Lawrence Omuhaka said the government targets to increase local production of fish, with a focus on commercialising the enterprise.
“The government sees fish farmers as the solution to the high demand of fish being witnessed across the country,” Omuhaka told The Standard.
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According to the official, there is a large deficit of fish products in the local market.
Speaking while issuing fishing material to farmers in Kakamega County, Omuhaka reiterated the government's commitment to ensuring the country can rely on its own production of fish without imports.
Farmers received materials such as pond liners. Equipment for extension officers like motorcycles and laptops were also given out.
Principal Secretary for Fisheries, Aquaculture and Blue Economy Francis Owino, urged farmers to let extension officers guide them in production and to help the nation achieve Africa's fish consumption of 10 kilograms per person per year target.
Farmers had earlier petitioned the government to address the issue of imports from China to allow local production to dominate the market.
However, Dr Owino ruled out a ban on importation of fish, saying the local production could not meet the current demand.
Kakamega has 6,976 fish farmers who operate 9,988 fish ponds, with a potential to produce 1,798 metric tonnes of fish in a seven-month production cycle, translating to Sh539 million earnings by farmers.