Aquaculture for all

Fish Farming To Enhance Food Security In Kerio Valley

Catfish / Pangasius Tilapia / Cichlids

KENYA - Arror River integrated multi-purpose project, which is earmarked to kick-off in earnest in Elgeyo Marakwet County, is an ambitious project which is geared towards transforming Kerio Valley region to a food basket once it is implemented and completed.

The project which is to be implemented by Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) involves the development of energy, agriculture, fishing, tourism, environment and water management projects.

KVDA acting managing director Mr Francis Kipkech said the authority needs over Sh 16 billion for the major development projects which emphasises on food production and electricity production.

Mr Kipkech laments that food insecurity in Kerio Valley of Elgeyo Marakwet County is persistent and it is high time that the people be educated on fish farming production which is not adversely affected by drought conditions to boost food production in the region.

He said Kerio Valley region is suitable for Nile tilapia, mudfish, African catfish and other fish species which can be enhanced through the provision of fingerlings for the fish farmers in the area.

Mr Kipkech said Kerio Valley has many streams and rivers which can be diverted for fish farming through the construction of fish ponds and dams. The perennial rivers which are rich in fish production are Kerio, Arror and Embobut rivers.

Other streams and rivers which can be utilised for fish farming are Kimwarer, Torok, Kessup, Kilos, Embamon, Enou, Embolot and Chesegon among others.

He said: “Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) needs to work closely with KVDA so as to organise aquaculture educational meetings in Kerio Valley, as well as to make fish feeds available for the stakeholders in the fish farming sector in the region."

An Under Secretary in the Ministry of Fisheries Development Mr Stephen Wanyama and Fisheries Director, Mr Godfrey Manor, said the Ministry promotes fish ponds and dams in all parts of the country.

In an interview with Kenya News Agency, the two senior Ministry officials said the Ministry also promotes establishment of hatcheries, food stores and feed mills in the fish farming areas throughout the country.

Mr Wanyama says that there are major challenges to the fish farming projects in the country which include predators such as mongoose, monitor lizards and birds which prey on the fish species.

He told KNA that acquaculture occupies 1.4 million hectares of the country’s land mass and is capable of producing 1.1 million tones annually worth Sh 50 billion once existing challenges being tackled by his ministry are overcome.

Mr Wanyama says the sector earns the country Sh 8 billion per year and the ministry was committed o improving on the per capita fish consumption in Kenya that stands at 3.8 kg and lower that the global consumption of 17.1 kg per person annually.

He says throughout the country there should be more investment of public funds in sustainable projects that have the potential to enhance food security.

October 2011