Embu county fish farmers are set to benefit from a share of Sh14 billion set aside by the national government through the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP) to revive fish farming in the county.
There are only 1600 fish farmers in the larger Embu County currently producing 40 tons of fish annually.
However, the programme targets to increase the number of fish farmers to more than 10,000 in the larger Embu County.
The Program aims at using both public and private sector channels to strengthen the aquaculture value chains with whole-community initiatives to promote good nutrition and food security, environmental sustainability and adaptation to climate change
‘’Aquaculture Business Development Programme targets 1,788 households and 10,728 persons,’’ said Grace Njagi, an aquaculture specialist.
The fund targets to reduce poverty, increase food security and nutrition in rural communities living in different counties.
Further, the programme will support the small-scale existing and new producers, with priority for women and youth, by promoting viable enterprises for production and value-addition
The Embu County government is therefore partnering with the Ministry of Agriculture, livestock and Fisheries through the Aquaculture Business Development Programme (ABDP) to increase fish production in the region.
The programme further focuses on promoting fish trade in the region by increasing the volume and value of fish and fish products produced and sold in different markets.
Other counties benefiting from the programme include Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Meru, Tharaka Nithi , Kiambu, Machakos and Kajiado.
Kakamega, Homabay, Migori, Busia, Siaya, Kisumu and Kisii Counties are also set to benefit from the programme.
While speaking at a farmer’s sensitization seminar in a hotel in Embu, Justin Ireri, the county Fisheries Technical Officer noted that there are around 1600 fish farmers across the county.
However, Ireri said that there has been a challenge of marketing for the fish produced in the region, a problem that the county government is in the forefront to mitigate.
“Earlier, there was an Economic Stimulus Project that had focused on production; this current project focuses on both production and marketing”, said Ireri.
Tilapia, cat fish and trout are among fish species farmed in Embu County.
“Most farmers take their fish for processing in other counties,” he said.
The county fisheries technical officer urged Embu residents to venture into serious fish farming.
“There is a permanent deficit of fish and fish products in the county and the country at large. However, there is ready market and this is a venture that can fetch big money,” he advised.
Embu County department of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives is set to fund fish farming and identify markets for farmers through the Aquaculture Business Development Programme.
Embu County Chief Officer for Livestock and Fisheries, Alvan Gatumu said the programme targets to reduce poverty, increase food security and nutrition in rural communities
Gatumu said that fish farmers will be equipped with necessary information and resources through training and capacity building including setting up of trials, demonstrations, field days and exhibitions in collaboration with service providers and partners.