Good news for fishers as Sh12b fish conservation project launched
By MANGOA MOSOTA
| July 16th 2013
By MANGOA MOSOTA
Kisumu,Kenya;Kenya is among 20 African countries to benefit from a multi-million shilling programme aimed at reduction of post-harvest losses of fish that was launched in Kisumu County.
The Sh12 billion initiative targets the five East African countries, among others, and will run for two years.
The lead expert for the project Davide Signa said studies have shown the value of fish drastically goes down between harvesting and consumption time. “Fish is delicate and easily perishable and there are many people who handle the commodity. This is the reason we wish to raise awareness that it should be handled in a hygienic manner,” explained Mr Signa.
He said the loss of fish after harvest in the fisheries sector is a major threat to food security in Africa. “Statistical data shows that post-harvest losses in artisanal fisheries in the continent are estimated to range from 30-40 per cent and sometimes even higher,” he said.
Studies carried along Lake Victoria show that the fisherfolk (fishermen and fish mongers) lose up to Sh2 billion annually due to unhygienic handling of the catch.
Albert Mwangi, a principal fisheries officer in the State Department for Fisheries, said the Government has put in place mechanisms to reduce the losses. “We have set up ten fish preservation units along the landing points where fishermen can access ice at low rates,” said Mr Mwangi.
The programme is funded by European Union through its SmartFish project and co-implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the Indian Ocean Commission. The campaign dubbed, Samaki Safi, Maisha Bora (Clean Fish, Better Life) was launched in Dunga Beach on Saturday evening. A senior official from EU, Pietro Nardi, said the initiative is hinged on desire to ensure food security in several countries.
“We have a number of activities geared towards ensuring food security that is anchored on the national policies and this is one of them,” said Mr Nardi the rural development manager EU delegation in Nairobi.
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