Homa Bay farmers embrace aquaculture

Farmer, Dorca Ouma, was displaying tilapia she had produced in a pond. She was at Kadongo market during the Annual Aquaculture Day. [James Omoro, Standard]

Residents of Homa Bay County have been told to venture into fish farming to improve their livelihoods.

Homa Bay Deputy Governor Oyugi Magwanga, aquaculture specialist at the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP)  Ruth Lewo and Blue Economy CEC John Agili said the ecology of Homa Bay is ideal for fish farming.

Speaking at Kadongo market in Rachuonyo in East sub-county during the Annual Aquaculture Day, Magwanga said fish production is a lucrative economic activity that many people have not ventured into.

The Deputy Governor said the soil in Homa Bay County can support ponds in which fish can grow.

He said that 140 farmers who are currently practicing fish farming in the area through the support of the ABDP have proven that the county's land has the capability for fish production in ponds.

Magwanga argued that fish production will uplift the residents’ living standards through enhanced value.

“I am encouraging our farmers to embrace fish farming as a business. Doing so will enable our people to put money in their pockets,” Magwanga said.

He said that fish production will also improve food security in the county.

Magwanga said fish is one of the most preferred protein sources for many people in the country.

“Fish has high demand in Kenya because there are many people whose medical conditions bar them from eating red meat. But you will find that they eat fish. This explains the high demand for fish,” said Magwanga.

According to Michael Omondi, the ABDP co-ordinator in Homa Bay, there has been improvement of fish production in the county from 23 tons in the last financial year to the current 77 tons.

Lewo said they are supporting farmers in a bid to reduce over-reliance on Lake Victoria for fish.

She said production of fish under the programme will also reduce the fish deficit in the country.

“Fish is a delicacy for many people and there is high demand for fish in this country. I encourage residents to venture into fish farming in large numbers,” Lewo said.

Dr Agili expressed concerns over the shortage of fish in Lake Victoria leading to recent chaos in which a fisherman was killed while scrambling for fishing ground in Lake Victoria in Mbita sub-county.

He said his department will ensure fishermen abide by fisheries regulations.  “Let our fishermen who produce fish through Lake Victoria avoid wrangles and follow the legal framework governing fishing,” Agili said.

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