Scandal-hit Liwatoni fish factory set for restart after 1-year lull

Betsy Njagi

Blue Economy and Fisheries Principal Secretary Betsy Njagi (centre) is shown around the Liwatoni Fisheries Complex in Mombasa on Thursday last week. 

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

Construction of the scandal-ridden Sh1.8 billion Liwatoni Fisheries Complex project in Mombasa County is expected to resume, close to a year after it was suspended.

The project stalled after the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) proposed the prosecution of the contractor over allegations of procurement irregularities.

A new contractor has moved the site according to, Blue Economy and Fisheries Principal Secretary Betsy Muthoni.

“We have visited the project and we shall hold meetings with different implementers including contractors to ensure the project is completed on time. In the next few weeks, we are expecting to receive various equipment to be installed to save fishermen from post-harvest losses,” said Ms Muthoni.

The PS spoke at the facility during a familiarisation tour.

“Apart from inspecting the project, we are witnessing the graduation of 10 young people who have been trained on deep sea fishing, bringing the total number of trainees to 601. We’ll be training about 1,000 people annually as we allocated adequate funds to get modern fishing vessels to explore our deep sea resources,” said Ms Muthoni.

Kenya has no expertise in deep-sea fishing and has to employ personnel from outside the country despite having about 142,400 square kilometres of its land mass being within the Exclusive Economic Zone. The proposed Liwatoni Fisheries Complex and jetty in Mombasa was gazetted as the first fishing port in the country.

Once complete, it will be the main fish handling facility at the coast and all fishing vessels operating in Kenya’s territorial waters will be required to land their catch at the facility.

Stock from the Indian Ocean has significantly increased after Kenya Coast Guard Services and international security teams stopped illegal fishing vessels from operating in Kenyan waters. Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta launched the project in November 2018 to harness the country’s potential in the blue economy.

The project is intended to increase fish production from the current 146,687 metric tonnes (MT) to more than 350,000MT over the next five years.

At the same time, the PS said the construction work at the Shimoni fishing port in Kwale County is set to begin after a long delay. This is after getting clearance from both Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kwale Governor Fatuma Achani, who officially handed over the land title deed to KPA.

Key components of the Shimoni project — which include a 70-metre-long jetty, an ice-making factory, a fire station, cooling machines, cold storage facilities and other features — are expected to be completed by the end of 2024.


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