Kenya has a deficit of 400,000 tons of fish, Principal Secretary State Department for Fisheries, Aquaculture & The Blue Economy Principal Secretary Francis Owino has revealed.
Dr Owino said this explains why the country is forced to import more fish to meet the rising demand. Speaking at Kiaga in Kirinyaga County, Dr Owino urged farmers to take advantage of the rising fish demand and rear more fish to generate income.
The government has launched an aquaculture farming campaign in 15 counties to increase production. The PS said that fish rearing has more advantages over other farming practices since it is manageable and profitable.
"Compared to other ventures, fish farming is stress free," said Dr Owino.
He stated that fish farming will not only contribute towards the achievement of the government’s agenda of food security, but it will also help bridge the deficit.
He said that with the current aquaculture projects being undertaken in 15 counties, Kenya will soon become self-sufficient in fish production.
The PS noted that the project intends to equip farmers with equipment and knowledge besides providing them with extension services.
The programme has been started in Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Tharaka-Nithi, Embu and Meru in the Mt Kenya region.
In Kirinyaga, farmers were given 292 fish liners and 38 predator nets while supervisors and extension officers were given motorbikes and laptops.
"We want you to work hard in these projects as we continue supporting you so that we can meet the obligation of feeding the nation as well as helping you generate income,” he said.
He urged farmers to seek the services of extension officers and advised them to make use of the Sagana aquaculture plant in Ndia to improve their farming.
The PS encouraged Kirinyaga residents to develop a fish eating culture due to its nutritional value. He underscored the importance of consuming white meat to supplement their diets and help them curb lifestyle diseases.
This he said as a recent report ranked Kirinyaga County as having the highest prevalence of diabetes and hypertension.
Owino said that the national government will also collaborate with the county government in implementing fish rearing projects.